Endemic Cyprus Warbler Sylvia melanothorax and colonizing Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala show different habitat associations

C. Ieronymidou, P.M. Dolman, N.J. Collar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Anthropogenic habitat change and assisted colonization are promoting range expansions of some widespread species with potential consequences for endemic fauna. The recent colonization of Cyprus by breeding Sardinian Warblers Sylvia melanocephala has raised concerns that it might be displacing the closely related and endemic Cyprus Warbler Sylvia melanothorax. Habitat associations of both species were examined using models of abundance within the 95% density kernel of the Sardinian Warbler's range and also outside this range for Cyprus Warbler. Within the Sardinian Warbler's range, the two species were associated with subtly different scrub habitats. Outside the Sardinian Warbler's range, the Cyprus Warbler differed again in its habitat association, but this probably resulted from marked differences in habitat extent and availability in different parts of the island rather than from competitive displacement, as none of the habitat or land-use elements differentially associated with Cyprus Warblers was positively associated with Sardinian Warbler occurrence. This suggests that the Sardinian Warbler has exploited a different niche, rather than displacing the endemic species, and has perhaps benefitted from changing land-use patterns, particularly recent fallows and abandoned agriculture, in contrast to the stronger association of Cyprus Warblers with semi-natural scrub.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-259
Number of pages12
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2012


  • competitive displacement
  • habitat selection
  • Mediterranean shrublands
  • niche displacement

Cite this