Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 147, Issue 4, pp 653–655 | Cite as

Subspecies Cantabrian capercaillie Tetrao urogallus cantabricus endangered according to IUCN criteria

  • Ilse StorchEmail author
  • María José Bañuelos
  • Alberto Fernández-Gil
  • José Ramón Obeso
  • Mario Quevedo
  • Rolando Rodríguez-Muñoz
Short Note


The Cantabrian capercaillie Tetrao urogallus cantabricus, a subspecies of the western capercaillie, is endemic to the Cantabrian Mountains of northwest Spain. The range is separated from its nearest neighbouring capercaillie population by a distance of more than 300 km. High genetic differentiation compared to capercaillie elsewhere qualifies the subspecies as an Evolutionarily Significant Unit. An assessment according to the IUCN Red List categories and criteria showed that the subspecies qualifies as Endangered due to rapid population declines, small population size, and severely fragmented range. The implementation of a range-wide recovery plan is vital for the survival of this subspecies.


Assessment Conservation status Cantabrian Mountains Evolutionarily Significant Unit IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 



We thank Stuart Burchart of BirdLife International for encouraging assessment of subspecies against IUCN criteria, and for revising and confirming our assessment of the Cantabrian capercaillie.


  1. BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world. BirdLife International, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  2. Castroviejo J (1967) Eine neue Auerhuhnrasse von der Iberischen Halbinsel. J Ornithol 108:220–221Google Scholar
  3. Castroviejo J (1975) El urogallo Tetrao urogallus L. en España. Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas. Monographias de Ciencia Moderna 84Google Scholar
  4. Garcia D, Quevedo M, Obeso J, Abajo A (2005) Fragmentation patterns and protection of montane forest in the Cantabrian range (NW Spain). For Ecol Manage 208:29–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Hilton-Taylor C (2000) 2000 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN, Gland CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  6. IUCN (2001) IUCN Red List categories and criteria: version 3.1. IUCN Species Survival Commission. IUCN, Gland CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  7. IUCN (2004) 2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
  8. Moritz C (1994) Defining “Evolutionarily Significant Units” for conservation. Trends Ecol Evol 9:373–375CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Moritz C (2002) Strategies to protect biological diversity and the evolutionary processes that sustain it. Syst Biol 51:238–254PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Pollo C, Robles L, Seijas J, García-Miranda A, Otero R (2003) Cantabrian Capercaillie Tetrao urogallus cantabricus population size and range trend. Will the Capercaillie survive in the Cantabrian Mountains? Grouse News 26:3–5Google Scholar
  11. Quevedo M, Banuelos MJ, Obeso JR (2006a) The decline of Cantabrian Capercaillie: how much does habitat configuration matter? Biol Conserv 127:190–200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Quevedo M, Bañuelos MJ, Sáez O, Obeso JR (2006b) Habitat selection by Cantabrian Capercaillie at the edge of the species distribution. Wildl Biol 12 (in press)Google Scholar
  13. Rodríguez-Muñoz R, Mirol P, Segelbacher G, Fernandez A, Tregenza T (2006) Genetic differentiation of an endangered capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) population at the southern edge of the species range. Conserv Genet (in press)Google Scholar
  14. Storch I (2000) Status survey and conservation action plan 2000–2004 grouse. IUCN, World Pheasant Association, Gland, SwitzerlandGoogle Scholar
  15. Storch I (2001) Capercaillie. BWP Update 3:1–24Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ilse Storch
    • 1
    Email author
  • María José Bañuelos
    • 2
  • Alberto Fernández-Gil
    • 4
  • José Ramón Obeso
    • 2
  • Mario Quevedo
    • 2
  • Rolando Rodríguez-Muñoz
    • 3
  1. 1.WPA/BirdLife/IUCN/SSC Grouse Specialist Group, Department of Wildlife Ecology and ManagementUniversity of FreiburgFreiburgGermany
  2. 2.Ecology Unit, Department of B.O.S.University of OviedoOviedoSpain
  3. 3.Centre for Ecology and ConservationUniversity of Exeter in CornwallPenrynUK
  4. 4.Estación Biológica de Doñana (CSIC), Ecology Unit, Department of B.O.S.University of OviedoOviedoSpain

Personalised recommendations