This paper presents the breeding avifauna of the Breite plateau in comparison with
the breeding avifauna of the surrounding forest, accounting for alpha, beta and gamma diversity.
The bird species are considered from the perspective of their feeding habits, nest site selection
and protective status. 57 breeding bird species were identified, from which 32 species on the
plateau, 46 species in the ... [Show full abstract] surrounding forest and 21 species were found breeding in both habitats.
Due to its small area and elongated shape, the plateau has a large ecotone and the surrounding
forest has a great influence on its avifauna. 21 of the bird species that were found in both habitats
are forest species. Only 11 species are breeding exclusively on the plateau and all are open
habitat species. 25 species nest exclusively in the forest, indicating again the dominance of forest
species over the total species number. The bird species from the two studied habitats belong to
five trophic categories, the insectivores being dominant in both cases. The several century-old
oaks from the plateau represent important feeding habitats for insectivore birds, especially for the
bark-feeders. The cavity nesters are the best represented among the species breeding on the
plateau. The open nests builders are best represented among the forest-nesting birds. Those that
nest on soil are less represented in both habitats. Out of the 32 species that are breeding on the
plateau, six are protected according to the Birds Directive (79/409 EEC), Annex I, emphasizing
the conservation importance of the Breite reserve.