Evidence for declines in populations of grassland-associated birds in marginal upland areas of Britain: Capsule We report large declines among summer populations between 1968–80 and 2000.

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2004
Authors:Henderson, IG, Fuller, RJ, CONWAY, GREGJ, Gough, SJ
Journal:Bird Study
Volume:51
Issue:1
Date Published:2004
ISBN Number:0006-3657
Keywords:Alauda, Alauda arvensis, Alaudidae, Budytes, Budytes flavus, Carduelis, Carduelis carduelis, Cinclidae, Cinclus, Cinclus cinclus, Citrinella, Columba, Columba palumbus, Columbidae, Corone, Corone corone, Corvidae, Corvus, Corvus cornix, Corvus corone, Corvus corone corone, Corvus monedula, Emberiza, Emberiza citrinella, Emberizidae, Fringillidae, Motacilla, Motacilla alba, Motacilla flava, Motacillidae, Muscicapidae, Oenanthe, Oenanthe oenanthe, Palumbus, Saxicola, Saxicola rubetra, Scolopacidae, Totanus, Tringa, Tringa totanus, Turdidae, Turdus, Turdus torquatus, United Kingdom
Abstract:Aim To assess changes in the status of breeding populations of birds in pastoral uplands. Methods Volunteer observers revisited 13 areas of marginal upland in Britain where Common Birds Census data were collected during 1968?80. This allowed the status of 35 bird species to be examined over about 20 years and to make a comparison between grassland-based and woodland-based species. Results For 12 species the decline in abundance was significant, particularly among passerines, such as Skylark Alauda arvensis, Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe, Whinchat Saxicola rubetra, Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava and Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella, each of which declined by over 80%. Redshank Tringa totanus, Yellow Wagtail, Dipper Cinclus cinclus, Whinchat, Wheatear, Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus and Yellowhammer were found on less than half the number of plots on which they were originally recorded. Most declining species were associated with grassland for nesting and foraging, compared to those species that increased (Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus, Pied Wagtail Motacilla alba, Carrion Crow Corvus corone, Jackdaw C. monedula and Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis) that were less specialized in their habitat requirements. Woodland or woodland edge species showed no significant change in status, suggesting that population declines among grassland species were not due to lower observer effort between recording periods. Conclusion Long-term changes to grassland ecosystems in marginal upland areas of Britain may have influenced the status of bird populations.Aim To assess changes in the status of breeding populations of birds in pastoral uplands. Methods Volunteer observers revisited 13 areas of marginal upland in Britain where Common Birds Census data were collected during 1968?80. This allowed the status of 35 bird species to be examined over about 20 years and to make a comparison between grassland-based and woodland-based species. Results For 12 species the decline in abundance was significant, particularly among passerines, such as Skylark Alauda arvensis, Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe, Whinchat Saxicola rubetra, Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava and Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella, each of which declined by over 80%. Redshank Tringa totanus, Yellow Wagtail, Dipper Cinclus cinclus, Whinchat, Wheatear, Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus and Yellowhammer were found on less than half the number of plots on which they were originally recorded. Most declining species were associated with grassland for nesting and foraging, compared to those species that increased (Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus, Pied Wagtail Motacilla alba, Carrion Crow Corvus corone, Jackdaw C. monedula and Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis) that were less specialized in their habitat requirements. Woodland or woodland edge species showed no significant change in status, suggesting that population declines among grassland species were not due to lower observer effort between recording periods. Conclusion Long-term changes to grassland ecosystems in marginal upland areas of Britain may have influenced the status of bird populations.
URL:http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00063650409461327
Short Title:Bird Study
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith