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Title: Habitat selection and breeding ecology of lesser kestrels Falco naumanni : implications for conservation
Author: Franco, Aldina M. A.
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2003
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Through an understanding of the lesser kestrel Falco naumanni habitat preferences and breeding ecology it is possible to determine the causes responsible for the species decline and suggest conservation measures. This study was conducted in the Iberian Peninsula during the lesser kestrel breeding period. Unlike Spain, nest site availability was found to be a constraint for the lesser kestrels in Portugal. The model for selection of buildings indicated that this species prefer buildings with many roof and wall cavities and surrounded by extensive agriculture. In Portugal and Spain, the villages selected by lesser kestrels had many old buildings and monuments, were located in areas with few rivers, and low percentage cover of cereals, olive groves and forest. Habitat preferences were determined using telemetry and transect count data and the two methods provided similar results. The effectiveness of radio tracking and visual sighting transect data was compared and the costs and benefits of each technique were assessed. Telemetry resulted in a larger number of significant differences between the habitats, but the costs were higher. Telemetry also required more effort to set up and collect the data. Transects were a cheaper technique but telemetry allowed areas with no roads to be covered. Findings indicate that lesser kestrel conservation is strongly dependent on the maintenance of extensive agriculture characterised by a rotation of cereal and grazed fallow. Abandonment of traditional agriculture and the recent changes in the agrienvironmental programme support, which favour afforestation and intensification, are jeopardising the future of cereal steppes and the lesser kestrel. Telemetry data indicated that lesser kestrels prefer to forage close to the colony. In steppe habitats, the protection of such foraging habitats within 3-km from the colonies could be an effective conservation measure. Vlll
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available