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The farmland refuge of the last Andalusian Buttonquail population

The last populations of threatened taxa usually survive in low-impacted areas, whose protection and management is critical for its conservation. However, they can also be located in humanized and highly dynamic areas, whose management can be extremely challenging. The Andalusian buttonquail Turnix sylvaticus sylvaticus is the critically endangered nominal subspecies of the common buttonquail, a largely unknown species due to its secretive habits. This study shows how the last Andalusian buttonquail population is restricted to a small, intensively used agricultural area (4,675?ha) in the Atlantic coast of Morocco, where the birds adapt their life cycle to a fast crop rotation. Buttonquails occupy crops in the flowering and fruiting stages, thus changing the preferred crop types along the year, although Alfalfa fields were occupied in all seasons. Estimated occupancy rates in different crops were used to obtain seasonal (2017) and year-to-year population estimates (2011, 2014 and 2017). Numbers showed wide seasonal fluctuations between the lowest in winter and the maximum in summer (112–719 individuals). Year-to-year summer estimates also showed wide variations and large uncertainties, ranging between a maximum 1,890 estimated in 2011 and a minimum in 2014 with 492 individuals. The last population estimate available was 596 in 2017. The area is suffering a rapid shift from traditional irrigation farming towards practices more akin to commercial industrial agriculture. The conservation of this critically endangered taxon is highly dependent on the maintenance of traditional farming practices and a rational on-site agricultural modernization. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Gutierrez-Expósito et al (2019) The farmland refuge of the last Andalusian Buttonquail population. Global Ecol Conserv https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2019.e00590


https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2351989418304360?via%3Dihub
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