European Journal of Wildlife Research

, Volume 53, Issue 1, pp 29–34 | Cite as

Microgeographic variation in citril finch Carduelis citrinella abundance as a consequence of resource availability and ancient landscape cultivation

  • M. I. FörschlerEmail author
Original Paper


The avifauna of mid-European mountains has for a long time been influenced by the intensive activities of man. As a consequence, the ancient cultivation in the formerly wooded Black Forest has led to a typical semi-open to open cultural landscape (heath land) on the mountain summits dominated by extensive pasturing with cattle and goat. Within several species of semi-open landscapes, especially citril finches profited from this development. However, during the last decades pasturing and transhumance activities ceased drastically, and continuous natural and artificial reforestation began. Due to these changes, several characteristic bird species of this semi-open landscape decreased strongly or became extinct. In this thematical context I studied microgeographic habitat selection in citril finches as a consequence of resource availability at mount Schliffkopf in the Northern Black Forest. As expected, citril finches are especially drawn to man-made habitat structures in this area and seem to react directly to the continuous reduction of these structures in the last centuries. Its recently observed population decline is characteristic for a couple of other bird species of semi-open landscapes in mid-European mountains, such as woodlarks and nightjars.


Microgeographic variation Ancient landscape cultivation Resource availability Habitat selection Citril finch Carduelis citrinella 



Peter Berthold (MPI Vogelwarte Radolfzell, Germany), Ulrich Dorka (Tübingen, Germany), Wolfgang Schlund (Seebach, Germany) and Erich Weber (Tübingen, Germany), and two anonymous referees provided helpful comments on the manuscript. Alexander Tahori (Tel Aviv, Israel) kindly improved the English. The study was conducted with financial support from the Max Planck Research Centre for Ornithology, Vogelwarte Radolfzell, it was furthermore supported by a fellowship within the Postdoc-Programme of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Max Planck Research Centre for OrnithologyRadolfzellGermany

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