Difference Between Habitat and Niche – Habitat vs Niche


Table of Contents

What is Habitat?

Habitats are natural ecosystem in which an organism is found and makes use of the resources in the area to survive, for shelter and food sources, and mating.

The word “habitat” is taken in the Latin word “habitare” which means “to inhabit’. The environment of an organism can be defined by its biological and physical features.


Physical factors comprise the type of soil, the availability of land and sunlight, temperature and the climatic conditions. The biological aspects are the presence of food sources and any absence of or the presence of predators. Habitat doesn’t have to always be a physical location, as shown in parasites, where the habitat may include the entire body of the host, the parts of its host’s body, or one single cell. The primary components of habitat include shelter, space food, water, and shelter. The ideal habitat will comprise the proper amount of each of these elements, however it could not always be the case.

Space refers to the area needed by animals and plants to flourish, and the quantity of space required varies between species. For instance, animals like carpenter ants could require only a only a few square inches to create a complete colony to establish colonies and locate food. Conversely the cougars are solitary creatures that need approximately 455 square kilometers of territory for hunting and finding the right partner. Similar to animals, plants require space both in diameter and height. Therefore, a plant that is large with a an enormous trunk and a large size might not flourish in places like an area in a park or yard. Food availability greatly affects the place or habitat that animals choose to reside in. Even if adequate water, space and shelter are readily available but there’s not enough food to eat this wouldn’t be a good habitat.


Water is a different component of the habitat, and all creatures require some type of water. However, the requirements for water could be different from one species another. It is the place that organisms require to defend themselves from weather and predators. It can be viewed as a place to sleep, eat, hunting and creating families. Habitats may alter over time because of major environmental changes such as a volcano or tornado or shifts in climate over a long time. Other changes could result from human activity such as urbanization, deforestation and pollution.

Examples of Habitat


Grasslands refer to the areas which receive more rain than desserts, but less the forests. The majority of the plants found in these areas are grasses and do not require the same amount of water as massive trees of the forests. The grasslands are found all over the globe, with the exception of Antarctica. They are typically found in the interiors of dry continents that are surrounded by mountains and hills. Grasslands fall in two categories: tropical grasslands and temporary grasslands.


The tropical grasslands typically have fewer trees scattered across the grasslands, while temporal may contain more trees. The majority of tropical grasslands are found within East Africa and Australia, however temporal grasslands are located within North America and Europe. Common animals in grasslands are Giraffe, Buffaloes, Hyenas, Ground squirrels, Zebras, Bees, etc. The most common plants found in grassland habitats are violet needlegrass, wild Oats, the foxtail, ryegrass along with buffalo grass.

Marine habitat

Oceans have the largest diversity of habitats across the globe. Plants and animals are found in the polar regions of freezing temperatures to warm deep seas to numerous thermal vents. The species of animals and plants living in these conditions adjust to different conditions, such as the flow of water and light and heat of the water and the pressure of the water. The marine habitats of species are classified into two categories: open and coastal habitats. The coastal habitats include areas which are far away from the currents of the oceans and towards the shoreline. The majority of creatures and plants found in marine habitats live within coastal ecosystems.


Marine habitats can be altered in accordance with the type of living organisms in the area, which alters the habitats of other species of animals. Common animals in marine habitats are fish species like sharks, stingrays and rockfish, as well as mammals such as blue whales seals, seals and walrus Otters. Molluscs, invertebrates and arthropods can also be found in this environment. Sea plants, marsh grasses, coral reefs, algae and mosses are found in marine habitats.

What is Niche?

Niche is the purpose and the position of a species within its environment. It explains how the species reacts to distributions of its resources as well as predators or competitors.


Similar to habitats as well, the niche is defined by the abiotic and biotic elements of the specific ecosystem. But, a niche is the interaction of a species with these elements and their impact on the environment as well as other organisms that live in the same surroundings. For instance, a group in an environment uses resources available and breeds many organisms, which increase the amount of resources available for predators. The term “ecological niche” is frequently used in relation to dealing with living things since it relates to the interactions of organisms and the ecosystem. Niche is the environment of an organism, and is concerned the actions it takes in its habitat to live.

Niche refers to the transfer of energy between species It is essential to know the way in which a species consumes food or interacts with other species. If a niche becomes unfilled, it may be filled by another species. But, certain organisms may have a niche that is unique to their own, which decreases resource competition among other species. However, it’s crucial for species to to adapt to changes within the ecosystem in order to guard their species from being extinct. This is why many species tend to evolve or adapt to survive in a wide variety of environmental conditions. The nature and quantity of factors that define an ecological niche differ between species and the significance of these variables can differ based on the geographic and biotic conditions.


The whole spectrum of biotic and abiotic factors that species use for survival constitute the primary niche. The factors which limit population growth, like predation and competition are referred to as the limiting factors. Based on interactions between species and the natural and biological world, niches come in three kinds: habitat niches, spatial niches as well as trophic niches, which are a multidimensional niche. The habitat niche, also known as the spatial niche is the physical space in the habitat that species inhabits. Trophic niche refers to the level at which trophic trophies are which is occupied by species within an ecological food chain. The multidimensional niche comprises the idea of fundamental niche and the factors that limit it.

Examples of Niche

Birds in New Zealand

Since New Zealand is an island isolated from the rest of the world, it’s used by a variety of special animals and plants to fill a niche. It is home to a small number of animals that can fly or swimming due to the distance this area is away from other countries. In the past, when there was a lack of animals, native species of birds, such as flying birds, of the region were the only ones to fill these gaps. They were among the first recognized predators of the region. Due to the lack in land-based animals the birds eventually landed on the land in order to fill the gap, and eventually became unflying.

Large birds such as Giant Moa. Giant Moa grew up to 12 feet tall and weigh around 500lbs which is equivalent to larger mammals. Birds such as Kiwi are found on land and occupy niches in small mammals like moles and mice, eating on insects and seeds. The most commonly seen birds throughout New Zealand are South Island Takahe and the Kakapo Parrot and The Giant Moa.

Panda bears

Panda bears are specialized in niches in which they are able to sustain an extremely limited diet, primarily eating bamboo. Pandas don’t move too much to conserve the tiny amount of energy they can get from these bamboos. To preserve the energy they have they avoid engaging in intraspecific or interspecific rivalry. They also aren’t natural predators, and reproduce every two years in order to keep their number of individuals small to avoid rivalry. Their area of expertise is very specific and that is the reason they are also extremely sensitive to human activity. They live and feed within the bamboo forests that are increasingly being destroyed by human activities to farm land or mine. They are now restricted to humid or temperate bamboo forests in South Western China.

Difference Between Habitat and Niche – Habitat vs Niche

The Basis of ComparisonHabitatNiche
DefinitionA habitat is an natural habitat in which a specific species lives and makes use of the resources in the area for survival as well as eating, shelter and mating.Niche is the purpose and place of a species within its environment. It explains how the species reacts to distributions of its resources as well as predators or competitors.
Made up ofA habitat may include several niches.A niche is a piece of equipment which doesn’t contain any other components.
deals withThe term “habitat” refers to the effects of temperature, climate and other factors on the life of an organism.A niche is concerned with the movement of energy from one species to the next and the interaction of it with environmental factors.
SpeciesA habitat may accommodate multiple species at any given time.A niche is a specific area of one species and can only support one species of organism.
NatureHabitat is a physical area that is occupied by species.Niche refers to the interactions and activities the species engages in with other species and surroundings.
RepresentsHabitat refers to the address of an organism.Niche is the name given to the occupation or profession of an entity.
SpecificityHabitat is not exclusive to any species.Niche is unique to a specific species.
What exactly is it?Habitat is an overset which has other components.Niche is a subset within habitat.
SizeHabitat is bigger in dimensions.A niche is less than the habitat.
The level of the TrophicHabitat does not indicate the level of trophic activity of a species within an ecosystem.Niche refers to the trophic levels of a species’s ecosystem.
ChangesThe habits of an organism remain the same over a longer duration of time.Living creatures may modify their interests within a short period of time similar to seasons.
InfluenceThe habitat of a species could affect its habitat.Niche occurs as a result of habitat, and is not a problem for the habitats of the species.
TypesThe five main kinds of habitats are grasslands, forests mountains, deserts and polar regions, as well as aquatic habitats.Three types of niches are habitat niche or spatial as well as trophic niches, as well as multidimensional niches.
ExamplesMountains, lakes, grasslands deserts and so on. are just a few types of habitat.The birds of New Zealand, niches occupied by pandas are a few instances of niches.

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