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Breeding-season habitat associations of the declining Corn Bunting Emberiza calandra – a potential indicator of the overall bunting richness

Ornis Fennica

Abstract

The aim of the present study was to assess factors affecting Corn Bunting occurrence and abundance, and to evaluate its potential to indicate the diversity and abundance of other buntings. The study was conducted in Lombardy, N Italy, at 40 sites in a low-intensity agricultural landscape. Corn Bunting occurrence depended on the availability of arable land and, secondarily, of rocky areas. Its abundance was affected by the extent of arable land and length of continuous hedgerows. The number of species and territories of other buntings was higher at sites where Corn Buntings were more abundant. Measures aiming at species' conservation should primarily promote the maintenance of arable lands and hedgerows in low-intensity agricultural areas. These landscape features are threatened in the Mediterranean region by both agricultural intensification and land abandonment. Conservation measures for Corn Buntings may also benefit the other bunting species.

Author(s): Brambilla, M; Guidali, F; Negri, I

Journal: Ornis Fennica

Year: 2009

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