Birds of Indian Subcontinent

Buzzards Buteo buteo and Ravens Corvus corax in the uplands of Britain: limits to distribution and abundance

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1995
Authors:GIBBONS, DAVID, Gates, S, Green, RE, Fuller, RJ, FULLER, ROBINM
Date Published:1995
ISBN Number:1474-919X
Keywords:Accipitridae, Buteo, Buteo buteo, Corvidae, Corvus, Corvus corax, Erithacus, Erithacus rubecula, United Kingdom
Abstract:The current breeding ranges of Buzzards Buteo buteo and Ravens Corvus corax in Britain are restricted to the west, and both are relics of former widespread but not necessarily even distributions. Moore (1957) attributed the Buzzard's contraction in range to persecution by gamekeepers, his evidence being the complementary nature of the Buzzard's distribution with those of gamekeepers in the lowlands and grouse moors in the uplands; others have attributed the Raven's decline to the same cause. Is Moore correct and, if so, are these species' ranges still limited by persecution? Here we adopt an approach similar to Moore's, whereby we compare the current geographical patterns of abundance of Buzzards and Ravens in the British uplands with that of an index of grouse moor density. Unlike Moore, however, we take into account climate, land cover, topography and sheep stocking density, as well as grouse moor distribution, using multiple logistic regression modelling. We show that in the uplands the distribution of grouse moors strongly limits that of Buzzards and Ravens but are unable to conclude that this is a result of persecution because there are several competing hypotheses (moor management, food and nest-site availability) between which we are unable to distinguish.
Short Title:Ibis
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