Spatial segregation of foraging sites in winter mixed-species flocks of forest birds near Seoul, Korea

Sang Don Lee, Piotr G. Jabłoński

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The wintering mixed flocks of tits (Paridae) and associated birds, are good objects for studying ecological niche division. In this respect the mixed species flocks on the Asian continent are poorly studied in comparison to European and North American ones. In this report we describe spatial distribution of foraging sites of eight bird species in 39 winter flocks near Seoul, Korea: Varied tit - Parus varius Temminck & Schlegel, Great tit - P. major Temminck & Schlegel, Marsh tit - P. palustris Bianchi, Coal tit - P. ater Buturlin, Long-tailed tit - Aegithalos caudatus Clark, Nuthatch - Sitta europaea Swinhoe, Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker - Dendrocopos kizuki Taka-Tsukasa, and Goldcrest - Regulus regulus Blakiston. Foraging sites (in coniferous and mixed forests) were classified into five height layers: on the ground, <1.5 m above the ground, 1.5-4 m, 4-7m, and > 7m. Trees were divided into three horizontal zones depending on the distance from trunk: crown interior, intermediate zone, and external twigs. Species differed significantly in the use of height layers: P. major foraged mostly on the ground, P. ater and A. caudatus foraged mostly in the highest forest layer, P. palustris was often seen in bushes, and P. varius occurred in the middle tree layer. There was no clear correlation between height of foraging and species body size. However, body size played an important role for segregation in horizontal zones, and two species, the larger P.major and the smaller P. ater differed significantly in the mean distance from trunk. Species of large body size like P. varius and P. major, foraged mostly in the interior of the tree crown, while the smaller species, P.ater and A. caudatus, foraged mostly in the external zone; the intermediate in size, P. palustris, foraged equally often in each of the three zones. The sites used most often by Korean populations of three tit species, P. major, P. palustris and P. ater, were similar to the sites used by European populations of the respective species. These results represent one of a few quantitative studies on mixed species flocks in continental Asia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-490
Number of pages10
JournalPolish Journal of Ecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2006


  • Asia
  • Body size
  • Foraging
  • Korea
  • Mixed-species flocks
  • Niche division
  • Paridae


Dive into the research topics of 'Spatial segregation of foraging sites in winter mixed-species flocks of forest birds near Seoul, Korea'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this