Nest survival of threatened Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata) breeding at low densities across a human-modified landscape

Ewing, Harry, Franks, Samantha, Smart, Jennifer, Burton, Niall and Gill, Jennifer A. (2023) Nest survival of threatened Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata) breeding at low densities across a human-modified landscape. Ibis, 165 (3). pp. 753-766. ISSN 0019-1019

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Targeted management actions to boost key demographic rates can help to restore rare and localised populations but are increasingly required to stabilise or reverse declines of formerly common and widespread species. Many breeding wader populations across Europe are declining because of unsustainably low rates of productivity, and the conservation tools designed to boost wader breeding productivity have been most effectively used for semi-colonial species within protected areas. Targeted management for wader species that breed at low densities across human-modified landscapes, such as the rapidly declining Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata, is likely to be more challenging. Here, we quantify variation in curlew nest survival in order to explore how management could be targeted to boost this key component of breeding productivity. Up to 80 pairs of Eurasian Curlew were monitored annually between 2019 and 2021 in eight locations across Breckland, eastern England, where nesting densities range from < 1 to ca.7 pairs km-2. For 136 nests across grassland- and arable-dominated sites, the majority of failure (86%) was caused by (primarily nocturnal) predation and the mean probability of surviving incubation (PSI) for all hatched or predated nests (127) was ca. 0.25. Nest survival showed little annual or seasonal variation but did vary slightly between sites, however, this spatial variation was not clearly related to management conditions or nest concealment at these sites. Fencing to exclude mammalian nest predators can be effective for waders, but too few Eurasian Curlews currently nest within fenced areas in Breckland to produce observable effects. Fencing the few sites with high nesting densities could potentially double the number of chicks hatched each year within the study area, but landscape-scale actions to reduce predator impacts on nests and chicks are likely to be needed to maintain breeding numbers in the wider countryside.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: This research was funded by a Natural Environment Research Council CASE studentship, as part of the EnvEast DTP (Grant Number: 6115926), and part‐funded by the British Trust of Ornithology and a Defence Infrastructure Organization Environmental Stewardship grant.
Uncontrolled Keywords: conservation,management,predator exclusion,shorebird,ecology, evolution, behavior and systematics,animal science and zoology ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1100/1105
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Biological Sciences
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Centres > Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation
Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Organisms and the Environment
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2023 17:31
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2023 11:30
DOI: 10.1111/ibi.13180

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