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Population development and habitat analysis of the bluethroat Luscinia svecica cyanecula in the countryside around Coburg, Bavaria, from 1971 to 1996 Bestandsentwicklung und Habitatwahl des Weisssternigen Blaukehlchens Luscinia svecica cyanecula im Coburger Land von 1971 bis 1996



Population development and habitat analysis of the bluethroat Luscinia svecica cyanecula in the countryside around Coburg, Bavaria, from 1971 to 1996 Bestandsentwicklung und Habitatwahl des Weisssternigen Blaukehlchens Luscinia svecica cyanecula im Coburger Land von 1971 bis 1996



Ornithologischer Anzeiger 36(2-3): 105-124



The development of the Bluethroat population in the countryside around Coburg, (ca. 1500 sq. kilometres) is shown and analysed from 1971 to 1996. From 1690 to 1971 the Bluethroat was registered as a rare not yearly breeding bird in this area, especially in the Upper Main valley. Beginning from 1971 the total population size increased permanently and reached a first maximum with 102 breeding pairs in 1981. However, breeding pairs decreased to 51 (50%) from 1982 to 1985. In the following 11 years the total population size increased very quickly to 176 breeding pairs. This is 10% of the species' total population of Germany. The reasons for these fluctuations lie in the succession of the vegetation in washponds of gravel plants in the Upper Main valley and by spreading of overgrown ditches in open meadows under extensive use by agriculture in the area around Coburg. Details of the succession of the vegetation in washponds and in ditches in agro areas and wetland are described. Some populations in gravel plants with a maximum of 20 breeding pairs collapsed in 10 to 15 years. If no landscape management programme will be established, the population size in the Coburg county will decrease as quickly as the population in the Upper Main valley 15 years ago. The dispersal of the population in the county of Coburg could only be reached after omitting the yearly cleaning of the ditches so that reed could spread out. The River Main population, settled first, serves as feeder to the Coburg population, as ringed birds show. Over 90% of the total population lives in anthropogenic habitats, with 48% in wash or gravel ponds and 31% in ditches with reed in extensively used agricultural or wetland. The development of the River Main and the Coburg populations is twofold: The Upper Main valley population can be stabilized if necessary habitat protection programmes start.

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