rss_2.0Ornis Hungarica FeedSciendo RSS Feed for Ornis Hungarica Hungarica 's Cover diet and roosting site use of urban roosting Long-eared Owls , and the change in the species’ population size in Southeast Hungary<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>The Long-eared Owl <italic>(Asio otus)</italic> was chosen as the bird of the year in Hungary by BirdLife Hungary in 2020 to pay more attention to this species. In the present study, we analysed the data collected on the food, changes in the population and the use of the roosting sites of the owls wintering Southeast-Hungary. A total of 4,683 pellets were collected in four winter seasons between 2016 and 2020, of which 5,265 prey animals were identified. We counted the individuals roosting in the winter roosting sites, and from their maximum number we estimated the local population change of the species as well as the success of the breeding. For this, we also used roadkill data from the nearby town, Battonya.</p><p>The diet of Long-eared Owls in the study area was similar to that observed in other parts of the Carpathian Basin. The smaller differences were mainly due to the different geographical distribution of different prey species. We also identified some species previously having no or very few data, thus we confirmed their stable presence in the area. Different weather factors within the season did not effect owls’ diet. The most varied diet was found in the warmest, least snowy winter. Comparing the feeding data with the data from the 1960s and 1970s, it can be seen that the proportion of preys changed significantly. The proportion of House/Steppe Mice decreased by an order of magnitude, while that of rats increased by the same amount over time. The most likely reasons for this may be changes in agricultural cultivation or local demographic conditions (depopulation). In the 2018/19 season, the proportion of Common Vole in the pellets was much higher than in any other years, suggesting this year’s gradation of the species. The pellets collected in different roosting sites close to each other typically had the same proportions of prey animals.</p><p>The maximum number of birds observed at the roosting sites did not correlate with the weather of the given season, but was probably related to the effectiveness of the previous breeding season.</p><p>The population of the species decreased compared to the early 2000’s based on the number of roosting individuals. This may be due to a decline in crow populations. It should be noted, however, that according to both the roadkills in Battonya and the maximum number of the roosting individuals in Kevermes, this drastic decline came to a halt in 2010s.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2020-12-16T00:00:00.000+00:00First record of Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse in Lebanon, 2020<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>The Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse <italic>(Pterocles lichtensteinii)</italic> is a nomadic, mostly nocturnal species. Its world range includes several countries in Africa, as far south as Kenya, and Asia as far east as Pakistan, but within the Middle East, it is a resident in Egypt, Southern Israel and Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman and Southern Iran. Like other members of its family, it is found in very dry habitats including wadis and stony deserts. Seeing a flock of them in Lebanon is extraordinary. They were sighted for the first time in the country. The dry hot wind in that time of the year might have brought them there. A poacher shot the flock and killed six birds during night hunting.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2020-12-16T00:00:00.000+00:00Main mortality factors for the Eastern Imperial Eagle ( Savigny, 1809) in Bulgaria<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>The Eastern Imperial Eagle is a globally threatened species, represented with not more than 35–40 pairs in Bulgaria. As a facultative scavenger feeding on carcasses and parts of dead domestic and wild animals, this species is extremely vulnerable to poisonous baits and toxic agents, intentionally or accidentally set up in its food. The present study identified electrocution and poisoning as the main mortality factors for the eagles in Bulgaria. We analysed a total of 56 cases among which 44 cases were related to the mortality of non-territorial eagles in different age classes, and we found 12 dead or distressed territorial birds recorded between 1992–2019. The main mortality factor was electrocution, accounted for 30.4% of fatalities. The poisoning was the cause of mortality in 12.5% of the non-territorial and 10.7% of the breeding birds. Some of the cases were laboratory confirmed as intoxication, while the others, based on the history, clinical symptoms and field evidence, indicated poisoning. The most commonly used toxic agents were anticholinesterase’s inhibitors. As a result of a timely therapy applied to the live birds found in distress with symptoms of poisoning, six eagles were successfully treated and released back in the wild. We found that mortality of eagles depended on the age of birds, breeding or dispersal grounds, while season had no significant effect.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2020-12-16T00:00:00.000+00:00Town avenues as flight corridors for Long-eared Owls<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>During winter, Long-eared Owls <italic>(Asio otus)</italic> usually roost in groups in urban areas, but their nocturnal movement patterns are less known. The aim of our study is to provide insight into the local-scale urban movement habits of Long-eared Owls. Our study was carried out between 2015 and 2019 in the autumn and winter period, by observations in the early evening and by ringing and recapture of owls in the town of Sombor (NE Serbia). We observed owls when leaving the roosting site located in the town centre following the greenery of the larger avenues towards the outskirts. Owls were sporadically observed in densely built areas of the town, narrow streets with less greenery. Ringing and recapture data suggest that owls were closely linked to the green corridors. They probably used these corridors for easier orientation and to prey on birds roosting in trees in the town, such as sparrows <italic>(Passer domesticus, P. montanus)</italic>, Common Blackbirds <italic>(Turdus merula)</italic> or Fieldfares <italic>(T. pilaris)</italic> appearing in harsh winters, and sometimes also pigeons.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2020-12-16T00:00:00.000+00:00Population status and habitat assessment of Cheer Pheasant in Western Nepal<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>The Cheer Pheasant <italic>(Catreus wallichii)</italic> is a protected species found abundantly to the west of Kaligandaki River. This study was conducted in the Myagdi district located in the western part of Kaligandaki River from October 2016 to June 2017. Our aim was to assess the habitat and population status of Cheer Pheasant, using acoustic survey and quadrate methods. A total of 38 breeding individuals were estimated in 7 bird/km<sup>2</sup> density. The study also revealed that Cheer Pheasants showed a preference for exposure components of the habitat. They preferred moderately steep eastern slopes (10–35°) and steep southern slopes (35–67°) between 1800–2400 m elevations. Additionally low tree density and high herbs density showed a significant effect on the habitat choice of the species. Poaching and habitat destruction are the major threats in the study site, calling upon a strategic management plan for the long-term conservation of the Cheer Pheasant.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2020-12-16T00:00:00.000+00:00Population dynamics and habitat preference of two urbanized Columbidae species and their nest predator in two settlement types<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>Since urbanization is a worldwide phenomenon, numerous species have gained the advantage of urban ecosystems. The Eurasian Collared Doves <italic>(Streptopelia decaocto)</italic> has become widespread all across Europe along with human-altered habitats. In general, population levels are stable but numbers have locally decreased in the past few decades. In parallel, a new wave of urbanization came forward, so Wood Pigeons <italic>(Columba palumbus)</italic> entered urban ecosystems alongside with other Columbidae species. In this paper, our primary goal was to find any connection between habitat availability factors such as coniferous tree density and the population dynamics of two urbanized species. A locally emerging corvid species, the Hooded Crow <italic>(Corvus cornix)</italic> was also taken into consideration in influencing tree-nesting doves and pigeons as a primary nest predator. During the research period, we aimed to express the differences in habitat structure of two urban ecotypes by nesting tree availability and structure and to prove the power of predator presence in sampling sites. Our results showed that residential areas have a higher proportion of coniferous trees, as well as the high preference of residential areas by Wood Pigeons and Eurasian Collared Doves.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2020-12-16T00:00:00.000+00:00Analysis of landscape structure, habitat selection and urbanisation in edge populations of Scops Owls in Central Europe<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>The habitat selection of Scops Owl <italic>Otus scops</italic> has not been studied in Hungary so far. The population in the Carpathian Basin can be considered as a range edge population. Yet, studying and conserving breeding population at the edge of the species’ range is important for the evolutionary potential of the species. In the present study, we examined Scops Owl populations situated on both sides of the Hungarian-Slovenian border. Although breeding density is significantly higher in Slovenia than in Hungary, we found no difference in the ecological diversity of the Goričko Nature Park (GNP), Slovenia and Vas County, Hungary. We found that both the proportion and total edge length of dry grasslands and intensively managed mesic grasslands were lower in Hungary. Similarly, market gardens were present in a larger proportion in GNP. These landscape features all indicate that the complex cultivation is still pronounced in GNP, favouring the Sops Owl as less intensive cultivation modes, like rural market gardens and grasslands play a key role in its habitat selection. Points with Scops Owl observations appeared to be closer to settlements than randomly generated points. They also were observed farther from primary roads than from secondary roads. This is in accordance with other studies revealing that these nocturnal birds avoid noisy roads. We briefly discuss why conserving range edge populations is important, and how time and effort optimised species conservation measures should accompany landscape protection at the political level.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2020-12-16T00:00:00.000+00:00Evolution of Songbirds (Passeriformes) and their Presence in the Neogene and the Quaternary in the Carpathian Basin<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>Songbirds are the largest order of birds with 6456 species, making up more than half of every known bird species. The location and time of their emergence, as well as the method of their spreading, is debated. They are present in the Carpathian Basin from the beginning of the Neogene, with an increasing number of types and species. Due to their diverse ways of life and diets, their presence mirrors the environmental conditions of the given geological periods quite accurately.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2020-12-16T00:00:00.000+00:00Impact of agriculture irrigation on the habitat structure and use by Great Bustards in a Natura 2000 site<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>As the whole Palearctic steppe system, its iconic bird, the Great Bustard has also suffered from the expansion of intensive agriculture. The species now typically has stable or growing populations only in protected areas, but negative processes are still prevalent even there. In this study, we present a recent change in a part of the N<sc>atura</sc> 2000 site designated for the isolated West Pannonian population. In recent years, a total of 2.3 km Center-pivot and laterally moving linear irrigation systems have been built and 4.7 km of underground pipelines have been laid, with which more than 52% of the 1245,5 ha study area was irrigated by 2020. In comparison to 2009, when the study period has started, the sown area of autumn cereals, one of the main breeding habitats, was roughly halved and the proportion of crops unsuitable for breeding was increased. New crops requiring irrigation have emerged with a rate of 30.6% in the last year. Despite the available support, the area of alfalfa, which is the most significant breeding habitat, and is grown almost exclusively in the agri-environmental scheme, has decreased. As a result of habitat degradation, the number of Great Bustard females observed in the area in spring decreased to a small fraction of the beginning. Irrigation farming is expected to increase, as a response to the climate change, but in order to save agro-steppe habitats and their species, the adverse effects of agricultural intensification need to be urgently addressed at both local and European levels.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2020-12-16T00:00:00.000+00:00Bird species assemblages in railway stations: variations along an urban-rural gradient<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>The transportation infrastructures like railway tracks and roads bear negative impacts on natural environment. However, the opposite effects are also true in some instances where the man-made constructions have positive effect on faunal assemblages. This proposition was justified through the assessment of bird species using railway stations as model man-made structures in an urban-rural gradient, in the suburbs of Kolkata, India. During the entire study period along nine different railway stations, a total of 43 bird species belonging to 12 orders and 26 families were observed. Among these, the order Passeriformes was predominant in its species composition having 18 different species from 11 different families. In urban railway stations, a total of 23 bird species under 22 genera and 14 families were observed. In suburban railway stations, a total of 35 bird species under 32 genera and 22 families were documented. The railway stations from rural region showed the maximum number of species and abundance of bird families, where a total of 36 bird species under 32 genera and 23 families were observed. The railway stations from the suburban and rural regions were more similar in species composition. Irrespective of the locations, during the entire study period, the House Crow <italic>(Corvus splendens)</italic> was the dominant species followed by the Common Myna <italic>(Acridotheres tristis)</italic>. About 18 bird species exhibited a decreasing population trend observed through the global population trend analysis. In all the railway stations, the abundance of omnivores were dominant while, the number of granivores were higher in the rural regions and the nectarivores were absent in the urban regions. It was apparent that the railway stations bear a positive effect on the bird species assemblages, which can be sustained through proper environmental management planning inclusive of urban greening.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2020-12-16T00:00:00.000+00:00European Hamster at the edge: declining in nature and rare in owl pellets<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>Over the last decades, the European Hamster <italic>(Cricetus cricetus)</italic> has been declining in many parts of its European range. Due to the lack of recent information on the occurrence and status of the European Hamster in the south-western Carpathian Basin west of the Danube, we used information gathered from prey remains in Common Barn-owl <italic>(Tyto alba)</italic> pellets. In spite of considerable sampling effort, we retrieved only few hamster remnants. Two skulls were found in Podolje (Croatia) in 2007 and 2016, respectively. Further five hamsters were retrieved from pellets collected in 2017, 11 km to the northwest in Udvar (Hungary). In Sátorhely, 5 km north from Udvar, one roadkill male was found on 27.07.2019. Testimonies from local inhabitants confirmed the current presence of the European Hamster in the area. Our results suggest the presence of a small isolated population in the border area of Croatia (UTM 10 km grid square CR27) and Hungary (CR18, CR19). This small isolated population is on the south-western limit of the range of the species. We presume that the population requires conservation attention because of its isolated position at the edge of the species’ range, its small size and low abundance. We call for a transboundary action by nature conservation authorities in Croatia and Hungary.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2020-12-16T00:00:00.000+00:00Attributes of Eurasian Green Woodpecker nest cavities in Hungary<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>Thirty-three nest cavities of Green Woodpeckers <italic>(Picus viridis)</italic> in Hungary were documented over a period of 15 years (2006–2020). Thirteen different tree species were used. All documented cavities were in the main trunks of trees. The mean cavity height was 5.6 m and 1.5 m standard deviation and ranged from 2 to 9 m. Tree trunk diameters ranged between 36–55 cm with a mean of 43.1 cm and 4.2 cm standard deviation. A southerly orientation of cavity entrances prevailed with a mean direction of 187° clockwise from north. The results suggest that cavity-entrance orientation was non-random.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2020-12-16T00:00:00.000+00:00Does human hair attract or deter potential ground nest predators?<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>The nests of rare and threatened bird and reptile species that breed on the ground are often attempted to be protected from predators with fences, grids, and various repellent materials. Results of some experiments refer to the repellent function of human scent, whereas others suggest that it has an attractive role. We aimed to investigate how effectively ground nests can be protected from predators if human hair is placed around nests. We performed the experiment in a riverine oak-elm-ash forest using 90 artificial nests, each with 1 quail and 1 plasticine egg: 30 nests were protected with a game fence, 30 nests were surrounded with human hair and 30 nests were unprotected (control). During the 24 days, predators damaged 23% of the nests protected by a game fence, 40% of unprotected nests and 47% of the nests surrounded with hair. The daily survival rate of quail eggs in nests protected with a game fence was significantly higher than the ones in the nests surrounded with human hair. Only 18% of the quail eggs and 36% of plasticine eggs were damaged. Such difference can be explained by the fact that small-bodied birds and mammals could pass through the game fence and left traces on plasticine eggs but they were unable to crack the shell of quail eggs. Within the game fence, denser vegetation can provide better nesting conditions and result in greater breeding success. The repellent role of human hair has not been proved, on the contrary, in some cases we have observed signs of its attractant role, such as small-bodied birds took hair away for nest building.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2020-12-16T00:00:00.000+00:00Intra- and interspecific nest parasitism of Common Moorhen (review of cases and new data)<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>Based on data available so far, it seems that Common Moorhens <italic>(Gallinula chloropus)</italic> rarely, but regularly lay one or more eggs in the nests of Common Little Bittern <italic>(Ixobrychus minutus)</italic>. Three such incidents from Hungary are hereby added to the cases known to date. However, Common Moorhens do not only lay eggs in other species’ nests, but also in the nests of conspecifics, while other species may also parasitise the nest of Common Moorhens. The present study summarises these aspects.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2018-07-25T00:00:00.000+00:00Preliminary study on the tolerance to human disturbance of Eagle Owl in an active quarry in NW Hungary<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>Population of the Eagle Owl <italic>(Bubo bubo)</italic> has been increasing in Europe including Hungary. The species occupy new habitats beside its ancient territories including quarries and buildings. This may result in conflicting conservation and economic interests in active quarries. Because eagle owls are strictly protected in Hungary, human activities around known nest sites require environmental permits. We aimed to obtain information on Eagle Owl behaviour in an operating quarry by tracking an adult female to base a future species-specific guideline to issue environmental permits for mining in quarries. We used a combined GPS-GSM and VHF telemetry. We found that the tracked female did not breed in the study year but remained in her home range during the study period. By studying her seasonal and daily patterns of movements, we found that she was not disturbed by regular human activities under the nesting cliff, but she was more sensitive to unexpected non-regular disturbance. Based on the satellite-tracking data, this specimen used an approximately 18 km<sup>2</sup> home range during the study period.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2018-07-25T00:00:00.000+00:00Habitat selection of the Great Bustard in Körös-Maros National Park<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>We investigated relationships among bustard presence data as response as well as properties of habitat patches such as shape, size, type of land use and landscape connectivity in 2015, employing bustard occurrence data in Körös-Maros National Park (KMNP hereafter). Additionally, we aimed to present a geometrical approach of habitat choice in animals, focusing on geometric properties rather than vegetation structure. Here we applied landscape metrics approach, providing landscape classification by analysing spatial patterns in potentially important landscape objects, disregarding linear constructions. Our findings show insignificant differences between shape metrics of selected and non-selected habitat patches, in line with previous studies concluding that bustards choose habitats based on habitat type classes rather than on geometric properties. Further, our results indicate that the original habitats of the study species, adapted to extensive, open steppes, became strongly fragmented, resulting in the absence of large contiguous areas. Within the study area, landscape connectivity values represent optimal habitat conditions, probably as a result of highly patchy structure of the landscape and relatively small nearest neighbour distances of habitat patches. Thus, our findings also indicate that Great Bustards adapted to modified landscape structures. Our landscape analytical approach provides a methodological framework which can be applied on habitat selection tactics in a number of species of key conservation importance.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2018-07-25T00:00:00.000+00:00Evolution and presence of diurnal predatory birds in the Carpathian Basin<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>The author describes the presence of the oldest extinct diurnal birds of prey species in the world and fossilized representatives of different families, as well as the presence of recent species in the Carpathian Basin among fossilized remains. In case of ospreys, one of the oldest known materials is classified as a new extinct species named <italic>Pandion pannonicus</italic>. The text is supplemented by a plate and a size chart.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2018-07-25T00:00:00.000+00:00Analysis of skull morphometric characters in Owls (Strigiformes)<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>Owls (Strigiformes) are small to large birds, mostly solitary and nocturnal predators. They can be found all around the Earth except Antarctica and some remote islands. The species differ in size, diet and habitat, which led to different morphological adaptations of the skull. The main differences are in the <italic>orbital</italic> and the <italic>otical</italic> region, which are connected to the visual and hearing capabilities. The aim of the recent study is to increase our knowledge of the relationship between skull shape and foraging habits and tried to find those characters that are related to diet. A geometric morphometric approach was used to analyse two-dimensional cranial landmarks. We used principal component (PC) analyses on measurements that may be related to visual and hearing abilities. The PCs are resulted in the robusticity of the skull and the asymmetry of the <italic>otical</italic> region. There are differences in position and shape of postorbital processes (POP) and <italic>tympanic</italic> wings (TW). Species with symmetrical skull shape are basically crepuscular or diurnal predators and species with more asymmetrical skulls are mostly nocturnal hunters and have better hearing capabilities.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2018-07-25T00:00:00.000+00:00Changes in the nest sites of White Stork in Hungary<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>The breeding strategies of the White Stork changed drastically during the past decades: a decreasing number of individuals nest on traditional nest sites – trees, roofs, chimneys, whereas electricity poles are increasingly selected. Here we analysed long-term breeding data of White Storks breeding in six Hungarian counties to detect patterns in nest site preferences in Hungary. According to our results, the shift to preference for electricity poles was shown at the same rate in every county, independently from the proportion of original nest sites. After 2000, although electricity poles dominated everywhere, the proportion of nest on poles without platform increased, despite the abundance of available empty platforms. To explain this pattern, we propose that White Storks show a preference for viewpoints, thus choosing to breed as near as possible to optimal habitats, regardless of nest site types. Therefore, conservation measures concerning the nest sites of this species should include preliminary habitat analysis.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2018-07-25T00:00:00.000+00:00Exploratory analyses ofmigration timing andmorphometrics of the European Robin<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>Ornithological studies often rely on long-term bird ringing data sets as sources of information. However, basic descriptive statistics of raw data are rarely provided. In order to fill this gap, here we present the sixth item of a series of exploratory analyses of migration timing and body size measurements of the most frequent passerine species at a ringing station located in Central Hungary (1984–2017). First, we give a concise description of foreign ring recoveries of the European Robin in relation to Hungary. We then shift focus to data of 40,128 ringed and 11,231 recaptured individuals with 24,056 recaptures (several years recaptures in 313 individuals) derived from the ringing station, where birds have been trapped, handled and ringed with standardized methodology since 1984. Timing is described through annual and daily capture and recapture frequencies and their descriptive statistics. We show annual mean arrival dates within the study period and present the cumulative distributions of first captures with stopover durations. We present the distributions of wing, third primary, tail length and body mass, and the annual means of these variables. Furthermore, we show the distributions of individual fat and muscle scores, and the distributions of body mass within each fat score category.We distinguish the spring and autumn migratory periods and age groups (i.e. juveniles and adults). Our aim is to provide a comprehensive overview of the analysed variables. However, we do not aim to interpret the obtained results, merely to draw attention to interesting patterns that may be worth exploring in detail. Data used here are available upon request for further analyses.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2018-07-25T00:00:00.000+00:00en-us-1