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Tracking data of the Little Bustard Tetrax tetrax in Iberia shows high anthropogenic mortality

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 December 2017

JOANA MARCELINO
Affiliation:
Centre for Applied Ecology “Prof. Baeta Neves”/InBIO Associate Laboratory, Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Universidade de Lisboa, Tapada da Ajuda, 1349-017 Lisbon, Portugal. Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes – cE3c, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisbon, Portugal.
FRANCISCO MOREIRA
Affiliation:
Centre for Applied Ecology “Prof. Baeta Neves”/InBIO Associate Laboratory, Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Universidade de Lisboa, Tapada da Ajuda, 1349-017 Lisbon, Portugal. REN Biodiversity Chair, CIBIO/InBIO Associate Laboratory, Universidade do Porto, Campus Agrário de Vairão, 4485-661 Vairão, Portugal.
SANTI MAÑOSA
Affiliation:
Departament de Biologia Evolutiva, Ecologia i Ciències Ambientals, Institut de Recerca de la Biodiversitat (IRBio), Universitat de Barcelona, Facultat de Biologia, Avinguda Diagonal, 643, 08028 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.
FRANCESC CUSCÓ
Affiliation:
Departament de Biologia Evolutiva, Ecologia i Ciències Ambientals, Institut de Recerca de la Biodiversitat (IRBio), Universitat de Barcelona, Facultat de Biologia, Avinguda Diagonal, 643, 08028 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.
MANUEL B. MORALES
Affiliation:
Department of Ecology. Terrestrial Ecology Group. Autónoma University of Madrid. 28049. Madrid, Spain.
ELADIO L. GARCÍA DE LA MORENA
Affiliation:
Department of Ecology. Terrestrial Ecology Group. Autónoma University of Madrid. 28049. Madrid, Spain. SECIM, Segura, 2. Manzanares el Real, Madrid, Spain.
GERARD BOTA
Affiliation:
Biodiversity and Animal Conservation Lab (BAC-Lab), Forest Sciences Center of Catalonia (CTFC), Crta. SantLlorenç, km 2,25280 Solsona, Catalonia, Spain.
JORGE M. PALMEIRIM
Affiliation:
Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes – cE3c, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisbon, Portugal.
JOÃO P. SILVA
Affiliation:
Centre for Applied Ecology “Prof. Baeta Neves”/InBIO Associate Laboratory, Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Universidade de Lisboa, Tapada da Ajuda, 1349-017 Lisbon, Portugal. Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes – cE3c, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisbon, Portugal. REN Biodiversity Chair, CIBIO/InBIO Associate Laboratory, Universidade do Porto, Campus Agrário de Vairão, 4485-661 Vairão, Portugal.
Corresponding

Summary

The Little Bustard Tetrax tetrax (Linnaeus, 1758) is a medium-sized, ‘Near Threatened’ steppe bird, whose Iberian population has been alarmingly declining over recent decades. Although this population loss has been mainly attributed to agricultural intensification, there is no information on Little Bustard adult mortality levels and their drivers. Based on a joint effort combining all the tracking data on adult Little Bustards collected over a period of 12 years by all research teams working with the species in Iberia, we found that annual anthropogenic mortality is likely to have a critical impact on the species, with values almost as high as the mortality attributed to predation. Collision with power lines was found to be the main anthropogenic threat to the adult population (3.4–3.8%/year), followed by illegal killing (2.4–3%/year), which had a higher impact than initially foreseen. Our work shows how poorly understood and previously unknown threats are affecting the survival of the most important Little Bustard population in Europe.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © BirdLife International 2017 

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Tracking data of the Little Bustard Tetrax tetrax in Iberia shows high anthropogenic mortality
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