Ardea
Official journal of the Netherlands Ornithologists' Union

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Denac K., Kmecl P. & Koce U. (2019) Habitat use of Eurasian Scops Owls Otus scops in an agricultural mosaic landscape. ARDEA 107 (2): 1-1
Farmland birds in the European Union have declined by 57% in the past 35 years, raising the need for efficient, large-scale conservation measures to halt and reverse their negative trends. The Eurasian Scops Owl Otus scops is an indicator of extensively managed agricultural landscapes, typical of areas of high biodiversity. Its breeding biology is poorly known, but central to understanding the drivers of its marked decline in different European countries, including Slovenia. We used GPS-loggers to study home range size and habitat use of breeding individuals in NE Slovenia. Kernel home ranges (95%) of three females were estimated and their habitat use was analysed by spatial logistic regression models with Moran’s Eigenvectors. Individual home range sizes ranged from 2.2 to 48.2 ha. In general, the females preferred to forage close to their nests. One female had a much larger home range than the other two, because of her exploitation of presumably highly profitable foraging grounds far away from her nest. In a mosaic of different agricultural habitats, the females showed a clear preference for extensively managed areas, such as hedges, meadows, abandoned vineyards and traditional orchards. Based on our findings several conservation measures are proposed, aimed at enhancing insect diversity and abundance as well as prey accessibility.


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