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Preliminary results on snow surveys of Pyrenean grey partridge (Perdix perdix hispaniensis) in the Cantabrian Mountains

  • Manuel Antonio GonzálezEmail author
  • Beatriz Blanco-Fontao
  • Daniel Martínez
  • Alejandro Santos-Fuentes
  • Peter Neuhaus
  • Kathreen E. Ruckstuhl
Original Article

Abstract

Peripheral populations tend to be smaller and more prone to extinction than those in core areas. Grey partridge Perdix perdix in its southern-most edge occupies mountain habitats, which is unlike any habitat in its northern European range. This makes these mountain ecotypes especially susceptible to range contractions and population decrease is likely the result of the current global change process. In Iberia, the so-called Pyrenean grey partridge subspecies P. p. hispaniensis is considered to be declining but little is known about its real trends and numbers. We locally studied the abundance of the Pyrenean grey partridges in winter by direct observations in the Cantabrian Mountains (NW Spain), while driving on a paved road. In addition, we related observed partridge abundances to different context variables to find the ones better helping to detect this species. The paved road-based censuses were successful, and we detected the presence and abundance of the Pyrenean grey partridge. Individuals and groups were more easily detected from December to February while couples were observed at the end of the winter (i.e. February–March). Wherever open paved roads exist, we strongly recommend using direct observations from them during winter as an adequate tool for Pyrenean grey partridge monitoring. This easy and cost-effective method affordable to managers and conservationists can contribute to a better understanding of the European mountain’s changing ecosystems and help us understanding the population trends of this vulnerable subspecies.

Keywords

Cantabrian Mountains Census Monitoring Pair formation Pyrenean grey partridge Perdix perdix hispaniensis Snow Winter 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We wish to thank Elisabeth Bro and an anonymous reviewer for their helpful comments on the manuscript. We are also very grateful to the Valdelugueros council for its collaboration, as well as María Cano Parra and Bernardino López Campano for their assistance in the field methodology.

Supplementary material

10344_2017_1140_MOESM1_ESM.docx (20 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 19 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Manuel Antonio González
    • 1
    Email author
  • Beatriz Blanco-Fontao
    • 1
  • Daniel Martínez
    • 2
  • Alejandro Santos-Fuentes
    • 3
  • Peter Neuhaus
    • 1
  • Kathreen E. Ruckstuhl
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.Environmental Management Services SIGMA SLOviedoSpain
  3. 3.Department of Geography and GeologyUniversity of LeónLeónSpain

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