Threats and conservation of meadow-breeding shorebirds in the Czech Republic and Slovakia
164 – 174
9 December 18
Vojtěch Kubelka, Václav Zámečník, Katarina Slabeyová, Vlasta Škorpíková, Miroslav Šálek
Department of Ecology, Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague, Vinicna 7, 128 44, Prague, Czech Republic
This article covers the most recent population estimates, trends, threats andp rotection measures for five meadow-breeding shorebirds in the Czech Republic (CZ) and Slovakia (SK): Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus, Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa limosa, Common Redshank Tringa totanus totanus, Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata arquata and Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago gallinago. All species have undergone strong long-term declines in CZ and SK, however, at least in recent years, trends appear to have improved for Common Redshank and Northern Lapwing in CZ. Common threats to grassland breeding shorebirds in both countries and major factors driving observed declines have been: (1) drainage of grasslands, (2) conversion of grasslands to arable land and high fertilizer input in meadows leading to overgrowth and thick, poorly penetrable habitat, (3) drilling of meadows during the Lapwing incubation period and (4) grazing abandonment at fishpond margins. The majority of failed clutches have been depredated or damaged by agricultural machinery. Current population estimates in breeding pairs are: Northern Lapwing (CZ: 5,000–7,000; SK: 2,000–4,000), Black-tailed Godwit (CZ: 5–10; SK: 0), Common Redshank (CZ: 25–40; SK: 20–50), Eurasian Curlew (CZ: 0–1; SK: 0) and Common Snipe (CZ: 500–800; SK: 30–100). Conservation in small-scale nature reserves has been effective, as has direct nest protection. Large-scale effective conservation on grasslands is generally lacking, however a newly launched agri-environmental scheme for Northern Lapwing on arable land seems to be a promising conservation measure, also promoting other wildlife in the agricultural landscape.