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The role of ponds as feeding habitat for an umbrella species: best management practices for the black stork Ciconia nigra in Spain

  • Rubén Moreno-Opo (a1), Mariana Fernández-Olalla (a2), Francisco Guil (a1), Ángel Arredondo (a1), Rafael Higuero (a1), Manuel Martín (a1), Carlos Soria (a1) and José Guzmán (a1)...
Abstract

To establish recommendations for wetland management that promote wildlife diversity in Mediterranean habitats we examined the factors that determine feeding habitat selection by the black stork Ciconia nigra in ponds. The black stork is considered an umbrella species because it is threatened, requires large foraging ranges in priority areas, is selective in its choice of diet and nesting sites, and inhabits a characteristic biological community with endemic and threatened taxa. Eighty-five ponds were monitored in central and western Spain to detect the stork feeding. At the same time, pond variables that could affect black stork feeding preferences were periodically evaluated. Generalized linear mixed models were used to analyse principal components obtained from groups of factors related to structural, location and ecological conditions. The black stork selects ponds distant from roads, with a large surface area, high water level, shallow shores, low turbidity, few traces of wild ungulates on the shores, a high diversity of fish and amphibian species, and a vegetated perimeter, in flat and open areas. Potential factors affecting feeding behaviour are discussed. We suggest measures for pond construction and management that could favour this species in particular and biodiversity in general in the Mediterranean environment.

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Corresponding author
*Fundación CBD-Habitat, Gustavo Fernández Balbuena, 2 E-28002, Madrid, Spain. E-mail ruben.moreno-opo@cbd-habitat.com
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