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How can the home range of the Lesser Kestrel be affected by a large civil infrastructure?

  • Vidal-Mateo, Javier1
  • Romero, Marta1
  • Urios, Vicente1
  • 1 University of Alicante, Vertebrates Zoology Research Group, Alicante, Spain , Alicante (Spain)
Published Article
Avian Research
BioMed Central
Publication Date
Apr 04, 2019
DOI: 10.1186/s40657-019-0149-6
Springer Nature


BackgroundThe loss of traditional agropastoral systems, with the consequent reduction of foraging habitats and prey availability, is one of the main causes for the fast decline of Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni). To promote the conservation of the Lesser Kestrel and their habitats, here we studied the foraging activities patterns of this species during the breeding season.MethodsBetween 2016 and 2017, we captured and tagged 24 individuals with GPS dataloggers of two colonies in Villena (eastern Spain) with the goals of estimating the home range sizes of males and females, evaluating the differences in spatial ecology between two colonies located in different environments: natural and beside a thermosolar power plant, and investigating habitat selection.ResultsConsidering the distances before July 15, date until which it can be assured that the chicks remain in the nest in our colonies, there were significant differences with the distances to the nest in relation to the colony of the individuals: Lesser Kestrels from the thermosolar power plant colony had a greater average distance. The average size of home range areas was 13.37 km2 according to 95% kernel, and there were also significant differences in relation to colony: the individuals from the thermosolar power plant colony used a larger area (22.03 ± 4.07 km2) than those from the other colony (9.66 ± 7.68 km2). Birds showed preference for non-irrigated arable lands and pastures.ConclusionsDespite the differences between the two colonies, the home ranges of both are smaller or similar to those observed in other European colonies. This suggests that Lesser Kestrels continue to have adequate habitats and a good availability of prey. Therefore, the extension and proximity of the plant does not imply a great alteration, which highlights the importance of maintaining the rest of the territory in good conditions to minimize the impact.

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