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Animal Biodiversity and Conservation. Volume 39.1 (2016) Pages: 89-98

Breeding ecology of the southern shrike, Lanius meridionalis, in an agrosystem of south–eastern Spain: the surprisingly excellent breeding success in a declining population

Moreno-Rueda, G., Abril-Colón, I., López-Orta, A., Álvarez-Benito, I., Castillo-Gómez, C., Comas, M., Rivas, J. M.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.32800/abc.2016.39.0089

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Abstract

The southern shrike, Lanius meridionalis, is declining at the Spanish and European level. One cause of this decline could be low reproductive success due to low availability of prey in agricultural environments. To investigate this possibility we analysed the breeding ecology of a population of southern shrike in an agrosystem in Lomas de Padul (SE Spain). Our results suggest the population is declining in this area. However, contrary to expectations, the population showed the highest reproductive success (% nests in which at least one egg produces a fledgling) reported for this species to date (83.3%), with a productivity of 4.04 fledglings per nest. Reproductive success varied throughout the years, ranging from 75% in the worst year to 92.9% in the best year. Similarly, productivity ranged from 3.25 to 5.0 fledglings per nest depending on the year. Other aspects of reproductive biology, such as clutch size, brood size, and nestling diet, were similar to those reported in other studies. Based on these results, we hypothesise that the determinant of population decline acts on the juvenile fraction, drastically reducing the recruitment rate, or affecting the dispersion of adults and recruits. Nevertheless, the exact factor or factors are unknown. This study shows that a high reproductive success does not guarantee good health status of the population.

Keywords

Agrosystems, Breeding success, Reproductive ecology, Southern shrike, Clutch size, Nestling diet

Cite

Moreno-Rueda, G., Abril-Colón, I., López-Orta, A., Álvarez-Benito, I., Castillo-Gómez, C., Comas, M., Rivas, J. M., 2016. Breeding ecology of the southern shrike, Lanius meridionalis, in an agrosystem of south–eastern Spain: the surprisingly excellent breeding success in a declining population. Animal Biodiversity and Conservation, 39: 89-98, DOI: https://doi.org/10.32800/abc.2016.39.0089

Reception date:

02/11/2015

Acceptation date:

22/12/2015

Publication date:

03/02/2016

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