Birds of Prey pp 197-228 | Cite as

Birds of Prey in Agricultural Landscapes: The Role of Agriculture Expansion and Intensification

  • Juan Manuel Grande
  • Paula Maiten Orozco-Valor
  • María Soledad Liébana
  • José Hernán Sarasola


The introduction of agricultural activity (including livestock farming) in natural environments affects all the natural processes occurring there, from individual behavior and population dynamics to communities’ composition and flows of matter and energy, and from local to landscape scales.

Nowadays cropland and lands for livestock farming represent about 40% of the ice-free land area and the transformation of natural habitats to modern agricultural landscapes occurs at unprecedented rates in the context of the exponential human population growth. Because of their role as top-predators, raptors are particularly sensitive to major ecosystem changes and thus could behave as good bioindicators of agricultural change. Here we summarize examples of negative and positive effects of the expansion and intensification of agriculture and livestock farming on diurnal birds of prey in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

Despite some positive effects on particular species, agriculture and livestock farming practices are actually a threat for around 83% of the bird of prey species that are Near Threatened or have some degree of global threat according to the IUCN. This suggests that agricultural activities are among the main factors driving raptor species toward extinction.

To preserve the actual diversity of birds of prey, several aspects of agricultural production including landscape modification, pesticide and veterinary drugs use, and the assessment of potential conflicts of raptors and productive systems will have to be carefully reviewed. Proper and specific management and conservation measures will have to be incorporated to agricultural productive system to integrate the conservation of their raptor communities.



We want to thank Kike Arnal from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Rafa Benjumea from Ecotono Birding, Kim Chye, Carlitos De Angelo, Manuel de la Riva, Maxi Galmes, Arnau Guardia, Marton Horváth, Jorge La Grotteria, Megan Murgatroyd, and Claudina Solaro for kindly providing pictures to illustrate this chapter. We also thank Erin S. Liner and Karen Rodriguez from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for arranging the authorizations for the use of pictures from the institution, as well as to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for allowing the use of those pictures. JMG also wishes to thank his family for their patience during the development of this chapter.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juan Manuel Grande
    • 1
  • Paula Maiten Orozco-Valor
    • 1
  • María Soledad Liébana
    • 1
  • José Hernán Sarasola
    • 1
  1. 1.Centro para el Estudio y Conservación de las Aves Rapaces en Argentina (CECARA)Universidad Nacional de La Pampa (UNLPam) & Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas de Argentina (CONICET)La PampaArgentina

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