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Formation and growth of a heronry in a managed wetland in Doñana, southwest Spain

AuthorsSantoro, Simone ; Máñez, Manuel ; Green, Andy J. ; Figuerola, Jordi
Issue DateDec-2010
PublisherTaylor & Francis
CitationBird Study (2010) 57, 515–524
AbstractCapsule A newly created wetland has been beneficial for the breeding of five heron species and for the settlement and expansion of Glossy Ibises in the region. Aim To determine whether created wetland would lead to the establishment of a heron and ibis breeding colony, and if so, to determine its effects on the distribution of these species in the wider region. Methods Number of pairs breeding at the new wetland and in the region were estimated annually from 1996 to 2008. We investigated whether the growth of the new colony was explained by redistribution of breeding pairs within the region. Results Purple Herons, Squacco Herons and Glossy Ibises colonised the new wetland in 1996. Black- crowned Night Herons settled in 1998, while Cattle and Little Egrets were the last species to establish in the mixed colony in 2001. The population increase was particularly marked for Glossy Ibises (which had bred in Don˜ana only sporadically through the 20th century). Our findings suggest that simple redistribution of pairs does not explain the formation and growth of the new colony. Since the first year of establishment numbers of Glossy Ibises and Purple Herons have shown a significant growth trend at both the new colony and in Don˜ana. Conclusion The creation and management of a new wetland has been successful for the conservation of heron and egret species and promoted the expansion of the Glossy Ibis population across the western Mediterranean region.
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