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Mapping the potential distribution of the Critically Endangered Himalayan Quail Ophrysia superciliosa using proxy species and species distribution modelling

  • JONATHON C. DUNN (a1), GRAEME M. BUCHANAN (a2), RICHARD J. CUTHBERT (a2) (a3), MARK J. WHITTINGHAM (a1) and PHILIP J. K. MCGOWAN (a1)...
Summary

The Critically Endangered Himalayan Quail Ophrysia superciliosa has not been reliably recorded since 1876. Recent searches of historical sites have failed to detect the species, but we estimate an extinction year of 2023 giving us reason to believe that the species may still be extant. Species distribution models can act as a guide for survey efforts, but the current land cover in the historical specimen record locations is unlikely to reflect Himalayan Quail habitat preferences due to extensive modifications. Thus, we investigate the use of two proxy species: Cheer Pheasant Catreus wallechi and Himalayan Monal Lophophorus impejanus that taken together are thought to have macro-habitat requirements that encapsulate those of the Himalayan Quail. After modelling climate and topography space for the Himalayan Quail and these proxy species we find the models for the proxy species have moderate overlap with that of the Himalayan Quail. Models improved with the incorporation of land cover data and when these were overlaid with the Himalayan Quail climate model, we were able to identify suitable areas to target surveys. Using a measure of search effort from recent observations of other galliformes, we identify 923 km2 of suitable habitat surrounding Mussoorie in Northern India that requires further surveys. We conclude with a list of five priority survey sites as a starting point.

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      Mapping the potential distribution of the Critically Endangered Himalayan Quail Ophrysia superciliosa using proxy species and species distribution modelling
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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
*Author for correspondence; email: j.c.dunn@newcastle.ac.uk
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