Conservation Evidence strives to be as useful to conservationists as possible. Please take our survey to help the team improve our resource.

Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Pied flycatchers Ficedula hypoleuca prefer to nest in clean nest boxes in a montane deciduous forest in La Hiruela, Madrid, Spain

Published source details

Merino S. & Potti J. (1995) Pied flycatchers prefer to nest in clean nest boxes in an area with detrimental nest ectoparasites. The Condor, 97, 828-831


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Clean nest boxes to increase occupancy or reproductive success Bird Conservation

A replicated, controlled study in 1993-4 in two areas of montane oak Quercus pyrenaica forest in the Community of Madrid, Spain (Merino & Potti 1995), found that pied flycatchers Ficedula hypoleuca preferentially nested in nest boxes which had no old nesting material in them, although this preference was only significant in 1994 (approximately 75% of clean nest boxes occupied vs. 18-50% of boxes with old material inside). The authors note that 55% of the boxes with old nests in were completely cleaned in 1993, suggesting an aversion to old nesting material. In 1993, nest material was removed from all boxes before being replaced in 20 boxes (leaving 39 clean); in 1994, nest material was removed from 17 boxes, with 13 left with old material inside.