Wintering habitat selection by Eurasian wrynecks Jynx torquilla in the west of the Iberian Península


Authors: Rien E. VAN WIJK and Mario F. TIZÓN


Published: Volume 63.2, September 2016. Pages 349-356.

Language: English

Keywords: Extremadura, Maxent, presence data, species distribution modelling, wintering distribution and wintering habitat


The Iberian Peninsula is a wintering area for an estimated 300 million birds. Most insectivorous birds winter in the southern half of the Peninsula, where mild mid-winter temperatures ensure the availability of insects. However, case studies of habitat use by specific species during winter are still rare. A species of particular interest is the Eurasian wryneck Jynx torquilla, the only long-distance migratory woodpecker in Europe that feeds almost exclusively on ants. Its European populations have declined throughout Europe over recent decades. Wrynecks are known to winter in the Iberian Peninsula but it has only recently been shown that at least some of these birds originate from Central European breeding populations. Hitherto, the habitats they select in winter have remained unknown although it is plausible to think that they are habitat specific given the birds’ strong reliance on ants as their main food source. We studied the wintering habitat selection by wrynecks in northern Extremadura, Spain, with MaxEnt models. We found that they chose diverse, extensive, agricultural (irrigated) croplands. Our findings highlight the importance of these threatened landscapes for wintering birds.

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