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Habitat use, density and population changes of quail Coturnix coturnix in Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany Habitatnutzung und Bestandssituation der Wachtel Coturnix coturnix in Sachsen-Anhalt



Habitat use, density and population changes of quail Coturnix coturnix in Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany Habitatnutzung und Bestandssituation der Wachtel Coturnix coturnix in Sachsen-Anhalt



Vogelwelt, 1174-6: 205-211



In central Germany both the cultivation of cereals like barley and oats and the occurrence: of Quail are known since the bronze age. Quails prefer agricultural crops but not every crop is used equally or has the same habitat quality. Based on a 15 year study of 42,749 ha, agricultural land north of the Harz mountains, the crops can be classed as optimal, suboptimal and pessimal habitats. Some crops (e.g. Red and Sugar Beets) and pastures are not used by Quails at all. Optimal habitats consist exclusively of spring germinating crops, especially if a mixture of two or more species is grown (e.g. barley and trefoil). Results of this study are relevant to questions concerning population changes, invasions and possible conservation action. A 10-year investigation of a representative plot shows no clear population trend except an invasion in 1993. The mean density was 4.7 +- 1.8 calling males per 1000 ha (5/1000 ha if 1993 is included). For the protection of Quail the continued but less intensive. use of the whole agricultural area is preferable to increasing the area of set-asides.

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