Abundance of Four Lark Species in Relationto Portuguese Farming Systems

Wood Lark (Lullula arborea) Science Article 1

abstract

Throughout much of Europe, farmland birds have declined more than those of other habitats, because of the abandonment of traditional farming systems and the simplification of remaining agricultural systems, including increased use of external inputs (Tucker & Heath 1994, Baldock 1991, Bignal & McCracken 1996). Traditional low-input agricultural of the country. However, such systems are not currently economically viable. Larks (Alaudid ) represent a passerine family that is strongly associated with farmland landscapes. In Portugal, the species present include Calandra Lark Melanocorypha calandra, Woodlark Lullula arborea, Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla and Skylark Alauda arvensis. Of these, Woodlark and Short-toed Lark are widely distributed as breeding species in Portugal, while Skylark occurs mainly in the north of the country and Calandra Lark mainly in the southeast (Rufino 1989). Iberian populations of all four species declined in numbers during the 1970s and 1980s and are currently the subject of European conservation concern (Tucker & Heath 1994). This study assesses the abundance of these species in December and April in relation to three arable systems in an agricultural landscape of Baixo Alentejo, southern Portugal.

C. Stoate, R. Borralho, M. Araujo, ORNIS HUNGARICA 12-13: 1-2 (2003)

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