Skip to main content
×
×
Home

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

  • JOANA MARCELINO (a1) (a2), FRANCISCO MOREIRA (a1) (a3), SANTI MAÑOSA (a4), FRANCESC CUSCÓ (a4), MANUEL B. MORALES (a5), ELADIO L. GARCÍA DE LA MORENA (a5) (a6), GERARD BOTA (a7), JORGE M. PALMEIRIM (a2) and JOÃO P. SILVA (a1) (a2) (a3)...
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.

Copyright
Corresponding author
*Author for correspondence; e-mail: joana.l.marcelino@gmail.com
References
Hide All
Alcazar, R. (2013) Conservation of Great Bustard, Little Bustard and Lesser Kestrel in the Baixo Alentejo cereal steppes - Final LIFE Report. Lisboa: Liga para a Protecção da Natureza (LPN).
Alonso, J. C., Palacín, C., Martín, C. A., Mouati, N., Arhzaf, Z. and Azizi, D. (2005) The Great Bustard Otis tarda in Morocco: A re-evaluation of its status based on recent survey results. Ardeola 52: 7990.
APLIC (2012) Reducing avian collisions with power lines: The state of the art in 2012. Washington, DC: Edison Electric Institute and Avian Power Line Interaction Committee.
Barrientos, R., Ponce, C., Palacín, C., Martín, C. A., Martín, B. and Alonso, J. C. (2012) Wire marking results in a small but significant reduction in avian mortality at power lines: A BACI designed study. PLoS ONE 7(3): e32569. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0032569
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Tetrax tetrax. www.datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/little-bustard-tetrax-tetrax.
Bretagnolle, V., Villers, A., Denonfoux, L., Cornulier, T., Inchausti, P. and Badenhausser, I. (2011) Rapid recovery of a depleted population of Little Bustards Tetrax tetrax following provision of alfalfa through an agri-environment scheme. Ibis 153: 413.
Brochet, A.-L., Van Den Bossche, W., Jbour, S., Ndang’Ang’a, P. K., Jones, V. R., Abdou, W. A. L. I., Al-Hmoud, A. R., Asswad, N. G., Atienza, J. C., Atrash, I., Barbara, N., Bensusan, K., Bino, T., Celada, C., Cherkaoui, S. I., Costa, J., Deceuninck, B., Etayeb, K. S., Feltrup-Azafzaf, K., Figelj, J., Gustin, M., Kmecl, P., Kocevski, V., Korbeti, M., Kotrošan, D., Laguna, J. M., Lattuada, M., Leităo, D., Lopes, P., López-Jiménez, N., Lucić, V., Micol, T., Moali, A., Perlman, Y., Piludu, N., Portolou, D., Putilin, K., Quaintenne, G., Ramadan-Jaradi, G., Ružić, M., Sandor, A., Sarajli, N., Saveljić, D., Sheldon, R. D., Shialis, T., Tsiopelas, N., Vargas, F., Thompson, C., Brunner, A., Grimmett, R. and Butchart, S. H. M. (2016) Preliminary assessment of the scope and scale of illegal killing and taking of birds in the Mediterranean. Bird Conserv. Internatn. 26: 128.
Brooks, C., Bonyongo, C. and Harris, S. (2008) Effects of Global Positioning System collar weight on zebra behavior and location error. J. Wildl. Manage. 72: 527534.
Brown, R., Ferguson, J., Lawrence, M. F. and Lees, D. (2003) The tracks and signs of the birds of Britain and Europe: An identification guide. London, UK: Christopher Helm Publishers.
Burnside, R. J., Collar, N. J., Scotland, K. M. and Dolman, P. M. (2016) Survival rates of captive-bred Asian houbara Chlamydotis macqueenii in a hunted migratory population. Ibis 158: 353361.
Cabral, M. J., Almeida, J., Almeida, P. R., Ferrand de Almeida, N., Oliveira, M. E., Palmeirim, J. M., Queiroz, A., Rogado, L. and Santos-Reis, M. (2005) Livro Vermelho dos Vertebrados de Portugal. Lisboa: Instituto da Conservação da Natureza.
Casper, R. M. (2009) Guidelines for the instrumentation of wild birds and mammals. Anim. Behav. 78: 14771483.
Cramp, I. S. and Simmons, K. E. L. (1980) The birds of the Western Palearctic, Vol. 2: Hawks to bustards. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
De Juana, E. (2009) The dramatic decline of the Little Bustard Tetrax tetrax in Extremadura (Spain). Ardeola 56: 119125.
Del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (1996) Handbook of the birds of the world. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions.
Erickson, W. P., Johnson, G. D. and Young, D. P Jr. (2005) A summary and comparison of bird mortality from anthropogenic causes with an emphasis on collisions. USDA Forest Service Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-191.
Fraigneau, C. (2008) Reconocer fácilmente las plumas. Recolección, identificación, interpretación y conservación. Barcelona: Editorial Omega.
García, J., Suárez-Seoane, S., Miguélezc, D., Osborne, P. E. and Zumalacárreguie, C. (2007) Spatial analysis of habitat quality in a fragmented population of little bustard (Tetrax tetrax): Implications for conservation. Biol. Conserv. 7: 4556.
García de la Morena, E. L. (2016) Ecología y movimientos migratorios del sisón común (Tetrax tetrax) fuera de la época reproductora. Tesis Doctoral. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Madrid, España.
García de la Morena, E. L., Bota, G., Ponjoan, A. and Morales, M. (2006) El sisón común en España. I censo Nacional.
Goriup, P. (1994) Little bustard Tetrax tetrax. Pp. 236237 in Tucker, G. M. and Heath, M. F., eds. Birds in Europe: Their conservation status. Cambridge, UK: Birdlife International.
Hardouin, L. A., Hingrat, Y., Nevoux, M., Lacroix, F. and Robert, A. (2015) Survival and movement of translocated houbara bustards in a mixed conservation area. Anim. Conserv. 18: 461470.
Harrington, D. and Fleming, T. (1982) A class of rank test procedures for censored survival data. Biometrika 69: 553566.
Heisey, D. and Fuller, T. (1985) Evaluation of survival and cause-specific mortality rates using telemetry data. J. Wildl. Manage. 49: 668674.
Inchausti, P. and Bretagnolle, V. (2005) Predicting short-term extinction risk for the declining Little Bustard (Tetrax tetrax) in intensive agricultural habitats. Biol. Conserv. 122: 375384.
Infante, S., Neves, J., Ministro, J. and Brandão, R. (2005) Estudo sobre o Impacto das Linhas Eléctricas de Média e Alta Tensão na Avifauna em Portugal. Castelo Branco, Portugal: Quercus Associação Nacional de Conservação da Natureza e SPEA Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves. (Unpublished report).
Iñigo, A. and Barov, B. (2010) Action plan for the little bustard Tetrax tetrax in the European Union. SEO/BirdLife and BirdLife International for the European Commission.
Irvine, R. J., Leckie, F. and Redpath, S. M. (2007) Cost of carrying radio transmitters: a test with racing pigeons Columba livia. Wildl. Biol. 13: 238243.
Jenkins, A. R., Smallie, J. J. and Diamond, M. (2010) Avian collisions with power lines: a global review of causes and mitigation with a South African perspective. Bird Conserv. Internatn. 20: 263278.
Jolivet, C. (1997) L’Outarde canepetière, Tetrax Tetrax, en France: le dèclin s’accentue. Ornithos 4: 7377.
Kaplan, E. and Meier, P. (1958) Nonparametric estimation from incomplete observations. J. Am. Stat. Assoc. 53: 457481.
Kenward, R. (2001) A manual for wildlife radio tagging. London, UK: Academic Press.
Krebs, C. J. (1999) Ecological methodology. Menlo Park, California, USA: Benjamin Cummings.
Lapiedra, O., Ponjoan, A. and Gamero, A. (2011) Brood ranging behaviour and breeding success of the threatened little bustard in an intensified cereal farmland area. Biol. Conserv. 144: 28822890.
Loss, S. R., Will, T. and Marra, P. P. (2012) Direct human caused mortality of birds: improving quantification of magnitude and assessment of population impact. Front. Ecol. Environ. 10: 357364.
Loss, S. R., Will, T. and Marra, P. P. (2014) Bird-building collisions in the United States: estimates of annual mortality and species vulnerability. The Condor 116: 823.
Madroño, A., González, G. and Atienza, J. C. (2004) Libro rojo de las aves de España. Madrid, Spain: Sociedad Española de Ornitología (SEO/BirdLife).
Mañosa, S., Bota, G., Estrada, J. and Cuscó, F. (2015) Una oportunidad para el sisón en Cataluña. Quercus 356: 2435.
Marco, I., Mentaberre, G., Ponjoan, A., Bota, G., Mañosa, S. and Lavín, S. (2006) Capture myopathy in Little Bustards (Tetrax tetrax) alter trapping and marking. J. Wildl. Dis. 42: 889891.
Martínez, C. (1994) Habitat selection by the little bustard Tetrax tetrax in cultivated areas of Central Spain. Biol. Conserv. 67: 125128.
McCallum, H. (2000) Population parameters: estimation for ecological models. New York, USA: Blackwell-Science.
Millspaugh, J. and Marzluff, J. (2001) Radio tracking and animal populations. 1st ed. San Diego, California, USA: Academic Press.
Morales, M. B., Bretagnolle, V. and Arroyo, B. (2005a) Viability of the Endangered Little Bustard Tetrax tetrax population of western France. Biodivers. Conserv. 14: 31353150.
Morales, M. B., García, J. T. and Arroyo, B. (2005b) Can landscape composition changes predict spatial and annual variation of little bustard male abundance? Anim. Conserv. 8: 167174.
Morales, M. B., Garcia de la Morena, E. L., Delgado, M. P. and Traba, J. (2006a) Tendencia reciente y viabilidad futura de las poblaciones de Sisón Común (Tetrax tetrax) en la Comunidad de Madrid. Madrid, Spain: Anuario Ornitológico de Madrid.
Morales, M. B., Suarez, F. and Garcia de la Morena, E. L. (2006b). Réponses des oiseaux de steppe aux différents niveaux de mise en culture et d’intensification du paysage agricole: analyse comparative de leurs effets sur la densité de population et la sélection de l’habitat chez l’Outarde canepetière Tetrax tetrax. Rev. d’écologie 61: 261270.
Morales, M. B., Traba, J., Carriles, E., Delgado, M. P., Paula, A. and García de la Morena, E. L. (2008) Sexual differences in microhabitat selection of breeding little bustards Tetrax tetrax: Ecological segregation based on vegetation structure. Acta Oecol. 34: 345353.
Morales, M. B., Traba, J. and Arroyo, B. (2015) El declive del sisón en el centro de España. Quercus 356: 3643.
Moreira, F., Silva, J. P., Estanque, B., Palmeirim, J. M., Lecoq, M., Pinto, M., Leitão, D., Alonso, I., Pedroso, R., Santos, E., Catry, T., Silva, P., Henriques, I. and Delgado, A. (2012) Mosaic-level inference of the impact of land cover changes in agricultural landscapes on biodiversity: a case-study with a threatened grassland bird. PLoS One. 7: e38876. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0038876
Naef-Daenzer, B., Korner-Nievergelt, F., Fiedler, W. and Grüebler, M. (2017) Bias in ring-recovery studies: causes of mortality of little owls Athene noctua and implications for population assessment. J. Avian Biol. 48: 266274.
Palacín, C. and Alonso, J. C. (2009) Probable population decline of the Little Bustard Tetrax tetrax in north-west Africa. Ostrich 80: 165170.
Palacín, C., Alonso, J. C., Martín, C. A., Alonso, J. (2017) Changes in bird-migration patterns associated with human-induced mortality. Conserv. Biol. 31: 106115.
Pollock, K. and Winterstein, S. (1989) Survival analysis in telemetry studies: the staggered entry design. J. Wildl. Manage. 53: 715.
Ponjoan, A., Bota, G., De La Morena, E. L. G., Morales, M. B., Wolff, A., Marco, I. and Mañosa, S. (2008) Adverse effects of capture and handling Little Bustard. J. Wildl. Manage. 72: 315319.
Ponjoan, A., Bota, G., Mañosa, S. (2010) Trapping techniques for Little Bustards Tetrax tetrax according to age, sex and season. Bird Study 57: 252255.
Raab, R., Schütz, C., Spakovszky, P., Julius, E. and Schulze, H. (2012) Underground cabling and marking of power lines, conservation measures rapidly reduced mortality of West Pannonian great bustards Otis tarda. Bird Conserv. Internatn. 22: 299306
Schulz, H. (1987) Biologie et protection de l’Outarde canepetière Tetrax tetrax. Rapport de synthèse d’un projet de recheches des Communautés Européennes avec une bibliographie sur l’Outarde canepetière. Faune de Provence (C.E.E.P) 8: 5478.
Sehhatisabet, M. E., Abdi, F., Ashoori, A., Khaleghizadeh, A., Khani, A., Rabiei, K. and Shakiba, M. (2012) Preliminary assessment of distribution and population size of wintering Little Bustards Tetrax tetrax in Iran. Bird Conserv. Internatn. 22: 279287.
Silva, J., Santos, M., Queirós, L. and Leitão, D. (2010) Estimating the influence of overhead transmission power lines and landscape context on the density of little bustard Tetrax tetrax breeding populations. Ecol. Modell. 221: 19541963.
Silva, J. P., Palmeirim, J. M., Alcazar, R., Correia, R., Delgado, A. and Moreira, F. (2014) A spatially explicit approach to assess the collision risk between birds and overhead power lines: A case study with the little bustard. Biol. Conserv. 170: 256263.
Silva, J. P. and Pinto, M. (2006) Relatório Final da Acção A2 do Projecto Life Natureza (LIFE02NAT/P/8476), Tetrax: Conservação do Sisão no Alentejo - Inventário dos núcleos de Sisão no Alentejo. Lisboa, Portugal: Instituto da Conservação da Natureza. (Unpublished report).
Silva, J. P., Pinto, M. and Palmeirim, J. M. (2004) Managing landscapes for the little bustard Tetrax tetrax: lessons from the study of winter habitat selection. Biol. Conserv. 117: 521528.
Smith, A. C. (1868) A sketch of the birds of Portugal. Ibis 10: 428460
Tarjuelo, R., Delgado, M. P., Bota, G., Morales, M. B., Traba, J., Ponjoan, A., Hervás, I. and Mañosa, S. (2013) Not only habitat but also sex: Factors affecting spatial distribution of Little Bustard Tetrax tetrax families. Acta Ornithol. 48: 119128.
Tourenq, C., Combreau, O., Lawrence, M., Pole, S. B., Spalton, A., Xinji, G., Al Badani, M. and Launay, F. (2005) Alarming houbara bustard population trends in Asia. Biol. Conserv. 121: 18.
White, G. C. and Garrott, R. A. (1990) Analysis of wildlife radio-tracking data. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Whittingham, M. J. and Evans, K. L. (2004) The effects of habitat structure on predation risk of birds in agricultural landscapes. Ibis 146: 210220.
Wilson, R. and McMahon, C. (2006) Measuring devices on wild animals: what constitutes acceptable practice? Front. Ecol. Environ. 4: 147154.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Bird Conservation International
  • ISSN: 0959-2709
  • EISSN: 1474-0001
  • URL: /core/journals/bird-conservation-international
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed