Population status, trends and conservation of meadow-breeding waders in Norway


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1 April 21

Terje Lislevand, Ingvar Byrkjedal, Oddvar Heggøy, John Atle Kålås


Terje Lislevand
Department of Natural History, University Museum of Bergen, University of Bergen, P.O. Box 7800, NO-5020 Bergen, Norway


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This paper reviews the current knowledge of distributions, population sizes and trends for the following meadow-breeding waders in Norway (percentage of population in agricultural meadows in brackets): Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus (<10%), Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus (80%), Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata (>65%), Black-tailed Godwit Limosa l. limosa (100%) and L. l. islandica (<10%), Ruff Calidris pugnax (<1%), Dunlin Calidris alpina (<1%), Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago (<10%) and Common Redshank Tringa totanus (<10%). Except for Black-tailed Godwits (<30 pairs) and Ruffs (mainly in N Norway), these species are relatively common and widespread in the country. However, nearly all species have experienced recent declines, with only Dunlins having an apparently stable population during the last two decades. Many lowland populations of waders were probably severely affected by intensified drainage and cultivation of wetlands during the 1900s. Furthermore, recent changes in agriculture might have been unfavorable for meadow-breeding waders, such as an increasing use of fast- or early-growing crops which reduces habitat quality and/or leads to more disturbance from farming activities, intensified drainage of meadows, and planting of trees. Increased predation pressures might also have affected some wader populations, but there is little national data to evaluate this hypothesis. Some possible actions to mitigate the loss of wader populations in Norway are discussed and we suggest some priorities for future research.