Zoological Studies

Vol. 46 No. 2, 2007

Effectiveness of Playbacks in Censusing the Fairy Pitta (Pitta nympha) during the Breeding Season in Taiwan

Ruey-Shing Lin1,2, Pei-Fen Lee1,3, Tzung-Su Ding4, and Yu-Teh Kirk Lin1,3,*

1Institute of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, National Taiwan University, Taipei 106, Taiwan
2Endemic Species Research Institute, 1 Ming-Shen East Road, Jiji, Nantou 552, Taiwan
3Department of Life Science, National Taiwan University, Taipei 106, Taiwan
4School of Forestry and Resource Conservation, National Taiwan University, Taipei 106, Taiwan

Ruey-Shing Lin, Pei-Fen Lee, Tzung-Su Ding, and Yu-Teh Kirk Lin (2007) We evaluated the effectiveness of using playbacks of recorded calls to census the presence and abundance of the Fairy Pitta (Pitta nympha) in the hills of Yunlin County, west-central Taiwan from late Apr. to May 2001. The responses of Fairy Pittas to playbacks were quick, with 94% occurring in the 1st 5 min. Playbacks substantially increased the likelihood of detecting Fairy Pittas. Both the number of stations at which pittas were detected and the number of pittas detected per station increased with the use of playbacks. In addition, both the number of stations that detected pittas and the number of pittas detected per station were significantly higher in early than mid- and late May, but did not differ among different times of the day (among early morning, noon, and afternoon). Our results indicate that playbacks considerably increased detectability, and 5 min of playback at a station is sufficient. However, it is important to census the Fairy Pitta populations during the preto early-nesting period, and this should be carried out at least twice to ensure a high certainty of determining the presence or absence of Fairy Pittas at a station.

Key words: Playback, Census, Pitta, Pitta nympha.

*Correspondence: Tel: 886-2-33664534. Fax: 886-2-33664785. E-mail:kirklin@ntu.edu.tw