Open Access
Translator Disclaimer
1 July 2004 Abandoned Cropland as a Habitat of the Whinchat Saxicola rubetra in SW Poland
Grzegorz Orłowski
Author Affiliations +

The study was carried out on 94 abandoned arable fields (0.1–83.5 ha) comprising a total area of 400 ha in the intensively farmed region of the Wrocław plain (54.8 km2, SW Poland). A total of 101 Whinchat territories were found in the study area, all of them in abandoned crop fields with a well-developed layer of dried perennials from the previous year (Tanacetum vulgare, Artemisia vulgaris, Solidago sp.). Whinchats occupied 56 (60%) of the 94 fields surveyed. The probability of a Whinchat occupying a particular field was closely related to its size: the probability of occupation was 50% in fields of about 1.8 ha, and rose to 100% in fields larger than 13 ha. Single males occupied thirty-eight territories (37.6%). The number of Whinchat territories per occupied abandoned field lay between 1 and 14. Thirty-three fields held only a single Whinchat territory. The density of Whinchat territories was negatively correlated with the size of an abandoned field. Single males inhabited the smallest fields.



P. W. Atkinson , R. Fuller , J. Vickery 2002. Large-scale patterns of summer and winter bird distribution in relation to farmland type in England and Wales. Ecography 25: 466–180. Google Scholar


A. Bastian , H. Bastian 1996. [The Whinchat]. Alula-Verlag, Wiesbaden. Google Scholar


A. Berg , T. Pärt 1994. Abundance of breeding farmaland birds on arable and set-aside fields at forest edges. Ecography 17:147–152. Google Scholar


E. Bezzel , K. Stiel 1975. [Distribution and ecology of Whinchat in north upland of German Alpine]. Ardeola 21: 841–859. Google Scholar


R. Brandl , E. Walberer 1982. [On ornitological importance of fallows]. Anz. Ornithol. Ges. Bayern 21: 21–41. Google Scholar


D. E. Chamberlain , R. Fuller 2000. Local extinction and changes in species richness of lowland farmland birds in England and Wales in relation to recent changes in agricultural land-use. Agr. Ecosyst. Environ. 78: 1–17. Google Scholar


S. Cramp (ed.). 1996. The Birds of the Western Palearctic. Vol. V. Oxford Univ. Press. Google Scholar


A. Dombrowski , A. Goławski 2002. Changes in numbers of breeding birds in an agricultural landscape of east-central Poland. Vogelwelt 123: 79–87. Google Scholar


A. Dyrcz , W. Grabiński , T. Stawarczyk , J. Witkowski 1991. [Birds of Silesia — monograph on fauna]. Univ. Wroc., Wrocław, pp. 345–346. Google Scholar


S. Gates , P. Donald 2000. Local extinction of British farmland birds and the prediction of further loss. J. Appl. Ecol. 37: 806–820. Google Scholar


U. N. Glutz , K. Bauer 1988. [Handbook of Birds of Central Europe]. 11/1. Alula-Verlag, Wiesbaden. Google Scholar


I. G. Henderson , I. Cooper , R. Fuller , J. Vickery 2000. The relative abundance of birds on set-aside and neighbouring fields in summer. J. Appl. Ecol. 37: 335–347. Google Scholar


L. Kleinschmidt 2003. [Territorial preferences of the Whinchat]. Mat. Conf. Polish Zool. Soc., UMK, Toruń, pp. 40–1. Google Scholar


K. Kujawa 2000. [Birds of the Dezydery Chłapowski Landscape Park]. Wielkopolskie Prace Ornitol., Poznań. 9: 89–121. Google Scholar


S. Kuźniak 2000. [Saxicola rubetra (L., 1758) — Whinchat]. In: J. Bednorz , M. Kupczyk , S. Kuźniak , A. Winiecki (eds). [The Birds of Wielkopolska. Monograph on fauna]. Bogucki Wyd. Nauk., Poznań, pp. 544–546. Google Scholar


P. Lorgé 1998. [Comparison study of Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava, Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis and Whinchat Saxicola rubetra in three grasslad areas in Luxemburg]. Regulus Wiss. Ber. 17: 68–86. Google Scholar


D. Ławniczak 1980. [Breeding bird communities in different types of agricultural landscapes of Silesia]. Ph.D. Thesis, Univ. Wrocław. Google Scholar


R. Oppermann 1999. [Food availability and habitat requirements of the Whinchat Saxicola rubetra]. Vogelwelt 120: 7–25. Google Scholar


G. Orłowski 2003. [Ecological impact of land use changes in agricultural landscape]. Zesz. Nauk. A. R. Wrocław, Geodezja i Urządzenia Rolne XXI: 189–209. Google Scholar


E. Osieck , F. Hustings 1994. [Red list of threatened and vulnerable birds species in the Netherlands]. Technisch rapport 12. Vogelbescherming Nederland, Zeist. Google Scholar


E. B. Ossterveld 1999. [Reproductive succes and immigration of Whinchat Saxicola rubetra in Gellbroek (Drenthe): keys to increase and decreas?]. Limosa 72: 143–150. Google Scholar


M. Pudil 2001. [Breeding biology of the Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra)]. Sylvia 37: 133–140. Google Scholar


R. A. Robinson , W. Sutherland 2002. Post-war changes in arable farming and biodiversity in Great Britain. J. Appl. Ecol. 39: 157–176. Google Scholar


L. Schifferli 2001. Birds breeding in a changing farmland. Acta Ornithol. 36: 37–51. Google Scholar


S. M. Smart , L. Firbank , R. Bunce , J. Watkins 2000. Quantifying changes in abundance of food plants for butterfly larvae and farmland birds. J. Appl. Ecol. 37: 398–14. Google Scholar


N. Theiss 1993. [High breeding densities of Bluethroat Luscinia svecica cyanecula, Whinchat Saxicola rubetra and Stonechat Saxicola torquata in the same habitat]. Ornithol. Anzeiger 3: 1–9. Google Scholar


P. Tryjanowski 1995. Is the Polish population of the Whinchat, Saxicola rubetra, stable? A view from the situation in a farmland area. Bird Census News 8: 72–74. Google Scholar


P. Tryjanowski 1996. [Breeding bird community of set-aside fields near Poznań]. Bad. Fizjogr. Pol. Zach., Ser. Zoologia 43: 37–5. Google Scholar


G. Tucker , M. Heath (eds). 1994. Birds in Europe: their conservation status. BirdLife International, Cambridge. Google Scholar
Grzegorz Orłowski "Abandoned Cropland as a Habitat of the Whinchat Saxicola rubetra in SW Poland," Acta Ornithologica 39(1), 59-66, (1 July 2004).
Received: 1 October 2003; Accepted: 1 March 2004; Published: 1 July 2004

abandoned fields
habitat island
land use
nature conservation
Saxicola rubetra
Get copyright permission
Back to Top