Skip to main content

Combining radio-telemetry and random observations to model the habitat of Near Threatened Caucasian grouse Tetrao mlokosiewiczi

  • Alexander Gavashelishvili (a1) and Zura Javakhishvili (a1)

The distribution of the Near Threatened Caucasian grouse Tetrao mlokosiewiczi, endemic to the Caucasus, was examined to model the species’ nesting habitat, and thus facilitate its conservation and the identification of Key Biodiversity Areas in the Caucasus. The species’ occurrence was defined by field surveys and radio-telemetry. Data were managed and analysed using a geographical information system and various modelling techniques. Grouse locations were divided into training and testing datasets. Habitat variables measured at training locations were used to develop models, and testing locations were used to validate the models. The final best-fit model suggested that Caucasian grouse prefer open habitat, and the most important independent variables accounting for the species' distribution were annual mean temperature, mean temperature of warmest quarter, precipitation seasonality and proximity to deciduous broad-leaf forest. The incorporation of human disturbance and ruggedness into the final model significantly increased its predictive power. This model provides a tool to improve search effectiveness for Caucasian grouse in the Caucasus and for the conservation and management of the species. The model can predict the probable distribution of Caucasian grouse and the corridors between known populations. Threatened and endemic species are often used as species for setting site-based conservation priorities, and this habitat model could help to identify new Key Biodiversity Areas for protection in the Caucasus. The Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Georgia is going to use the results of this study to reshape existing protected areas and identify new ones.

Corresponding author
*Center of Biodiversity Studies, Institute of Ecology, Ilia State University, Chavchavadze Avenue 32, 0179 Tbilisi, Georgia. E-mail
Hide All

This paper contains supplementary material that can be found online at

Hide All
Adriaensen F., Chardon J.P., De Blust G., Swinnen E., Villalba S., Gulinck H. & Matthysen E. (2003) The application of ‘least-cost’ modelling as a functional landscape model. Landscape and Urban Planning, 64, 233247.
Atkinson P.W., Humpage E.A., Jowitt A.J.D., Oğurlu I. & Rowcliffe J.M. (1995) The distribution and status of Caucasian black grouse in north-eastern Turkey. Proceedings of International Grouse Symposium, 6, 131133.
Averin I.V. (1938) Caucasian black grouse. Trans-Caucasian State Game Reserve, 1, 5786. [in Russian]
Baskaya S. (2003) Distribution and principal threats to Caucasian black grouse Tetrao mlokosiewiczi in the Eastern Karadeniz Mountains in Turkey. Wildlife Biology, 9, 377383.
BirdLife International (2008) Tetrao mlokosiewiczi. In IUCN Red List of Threatened Species v. 2010.1. Http:// [accessed 26 April 2010].
Breiman L., Friedman J.H., Olshen R.A. & Stone C.J. (1984) Classification and Regression Trees. Wadsworth International Group, Belmont, USA.
Clark J.D., Dunn J.E. & Smith K.G. (1993) A multivariate model of female black bear habitat use for a geographic information system. Journal of Wildlife Management, 57, 519526.
Drovetski S.V. & Rohwer S. (2000) Habitat use, chick survival and density of Caucasian black grouse Tetrao mlokosiewiczi. Wildlife Biology, 6, 233240.
Elith J., Graham C.H., Anderson R.P., Dudik M., Ferrier S., Guisan A. et al. . (2006) Novel methods improve prediction of species’ distributions from occurrence data. Ecography, 29, 129151.
EOS Data Gateway (2010) Http:// [accessed 16 July 2010].
Gharamani A. (1971) A Survey in the Kalibar Mountains with Particular Reference to the Caucasian Black Grouse. Job Completion Report 8/50, Department of the Environment, Teheran, Iran. [in Farsi]
Global Land Cover Facility (2010) Http:// [accessed 2 February 2009].
Gokhelashvili R., Kerry P.R. & Gavashelishvili L. (2003) How much do we know about the Caucasian black grouse Tetrao mlokosiewiczi? Sandgrouse, 25, 3340.
Golan A., Judge G.G. & Miller D. (1997) Maximum Entropy Econometrics: Robust Estimation with Limited Data. John Wiley & Sons, New York, USA.
Gottschalk T.K., Ekschmitt K., İsfendiyaroglu S., Gem E. & Wolters V. (2007) Assessing the potential distribution of the Caucasian black grouse Tetrao mlokosiewiczi in Turkey through spatial modelling. Journal of Ornithology, 148, 427434.
Hanley J. & McNeil B.J. (1982) The meaning and use of the area under a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve. Radiology, 143, 2936.
Hernandez P.A., Franke I., Herzog S.K., Pacheco V., Paniagua L., Quintana H.L. et al. . (2008) Predicting species distributions in poorly-studied landscapes. Biodiversity and Conservation, 17, 13531366.
Hijmans R.J., Cameron S.E., Parra J.L., Jones P.G. & Jarvis A. (2005) Very high resolution interpolated climate surfaces for global land areas. International Journal of Climatology, 25, 19651978.
Hosmer D. & Lemeshow S. (1989) Applied Logistic Regression. John Wiley & Sons, New York, USA.
Isfendiyaroğlu S., Welch G. & Ataol M. (2007) The Caucasian black grouse Tetrao mlokosiewiczi in Turkey: recent survey results and conservation recommendations. Wildlife Biology, 13, 1320.
Johnsgard P.A. (1983) The Grouse of the World. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, USA, and London, UK.
Klaus S. & Storch I. (2003) Autumn display of the Caucasian black grouse Tetrao mlokosiewiczi—observations in the Kazbegi reserve/Georgia. Grouse News, 26, 1112.
Kutubidze M.E. (1961) Ecology and distribution of the Caucasian black grouse (Lyrurus mlokosiewiczi Tacz.) in Georgia. Institute Zoology, Georgian Academy of Sciences, 18, 340. [in Georgian]
Langhammer P.F., Bakarr M.I., Bennun L.A., Brooks T.M., Clay R.P., Darwall W. et al. . (2007) Identification and Gap Analysis of Key Biodiversity Areas: Targets for Comprehensive Protected Area Systems. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.
Maxent (2010) Http:// [accessed 2 February 2009].
Menard S. (2002) Applied Logistic Regression Analysis, 2nd edition. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, USA.
Myers N., Mittermeier R.A., Mittermeier C.G., Fonseca G.A.B. & Kent J. (2000) Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities. Nature, 403, 853858.
Phillips S.J., Anderson R.P. & Schapire R.E. (2006) Maximum entropy modelling of species' geographic distributions. Ecological Modelling, 190, 231259.
Phillips S.J. & Dudik M. (2008) Modelling of species' distributions with Maxent: new extensions and a comprehensive evaluation. Ecography, 31, 161175.
Potapov R.L. (1985) Order Galliformes, Family Tetraonidae. In Fauna of the USSR: Birds. Vol. 3, Part 2. Nauka, Leningrad, Russia. [in Russian]
Pressey R.L., Humphries C.J., Margules C.R., Vane-Wright R.I. & Williams P.H. (1993) Beyond opportunism—key principles for systematic reserve selection. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 8, 124128.
Schroeder M.A. & Braun C.E. (1991) Walk-in traps for capturing greater prairie chickens on leks. Journal of Field Ornithology, 62, 378385.
Scott D.A. (1976) The Caucasian black grouse (Lyrurus mlokosiewiczi) in Iran. Journal of World Pheasant Association, 1976, 6668.
Sikharulidze Z.D. (1974) On the biology of Caucasian black grouse. Ornithological Digest, 11, 410415. [in Russian]
Tkachenko V.I. (1966) Ecology of Galliformes in alpine regions of the north-western Caucasus. Teberda Nature Reserve, Stavropol, 6, 5144. [in Russian]
WorldClim (2010) WorldClim—Global Climate Data. Http:// [accessed 2 February 2009].
Zweig M.H. & Campbell G. (1993) Receiver-operating characteristics (ROC) plots: a fundamental evaluation tool in clinical medicine. Clinical Chemistry, 39, 561577.
Recommend this journal

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

  • ISSN: 0030-6053
  • EISSN: 1365-3008
  • URL: /core/journals/oryx
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Type Description Title
Supplementary materials

Gavashelishvili supplementary material
Gavashelishvili supplementary material

 PDF (36 KB)
36 KB


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 1
Total number of PDF views: 14 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 187 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 21st January 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.