Research Group: 
Running period: 
2015 to 2019

The decline of long-distance migratory birds is a great challenge for European nature conservation. The Netherlands harbours many migratory birds in winter and during stopover. The Netherlands has taken up its international responsibility by listing Natura 2000 target species, including the Bewick’s swan. This Arctic-nesting species has an unfavourable conservation status, with numbers wintering in the Netherlands declining dramatically since the mid-1990s. This proposed research is aimed at unravelling the cause of this decline. In contrast to resident species, the limitation of population size of migratory species can occur on breeding or wintering grounds, or even at stopover sites in between. Long-term population count data, mark-recapture data and productivity data are combined into a single unified analysis: an integrated population model. This will enable estimation of the contribution of different vital rates to the observed trend in the Netherlands. We also study a possible change in route and timing of migration. Using GPS collars, Bewick’s swans will be tracked to determine important migratory stop-overs, and possible changes therein compared to previous tracking studies. The outcome of this study is expected to be of high relevance for the development of management actions for this Arctic-nesting, Natura 2000 target species.


Global Environmental Change



Research team