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
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