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Snow cover as a limiting factor for the rock partridge Alectoris graeca in the Swiss Alps - a review Schnee als limitierender Faktor fuer das Steinhuhn Alectoris graeca in den Schweizer Alpen - eine Uebersicht

Snow cover as a limiting factor for the rock partridge Alectoris graeca in the Swiss Alps - a review Schnee als limitierender Faktor fuer das Steinhuhn Alectoris graeca in den Schweizer Alpen - eine Uebersicht

Ornithologische Beobachter. Dezember; 1014: 295-306

Records of Rock Partridges in winter in the Swiss Alps from the 19th and 20th century were analysed. Observations of birds in buildings and very close to human settlements after heavy snow fall indicate that the species is struggling if there is a closed blanket of snow. In the central Alps Rock partridges often have the possibility to move up or down the slopes to find feeding grounds not covered with snow. If no suitable ground can be found the birds may also move along the slopes and even leave the valley. Under suitable conditions Rock Partridges spend the winter in the breeding area itself or in areas situated at even higher altitude. This is possible in highly structured landscapes containing areas without snow. Due to a lack of periodicity these movements cannot be called classical migration movements but rather escape movements to avoid snow cover. The connectivity of suitable breeding and wintering areas needs further studies. The preservation of highly structured landscapes seems to be an important factor for the conservation of the species in the Alps.

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