Publication details.


Author(s):N. Prieto, G. Tavecchia, I. Telletxea, R. Ibañez, F. Ansorregi, A. Galdos, A. Urruzola, I. Iriarte, J. Ariziaga
Title:Survival probabilities of wintering Eurasian Woodcocks Scolopax rusticola in northern Spain reveal a direct link with hunting regimes
Journal:Journal of Ornithology
JCR Impact Factor:1.286
Issue No.:2
Abstract:The management of game species relies on robust estimates of hunting-related mortality. A relative measure of this mortality can be obtained by comparing survival estimates of animals across similar areas with different hunting pressures. We conducted live recapture-dead recovery analyses on wintering Eurasian Woodcocks Scolopax rusticola (hereinafter “Woodcock”) in provinces of Gipuzkoa (GIP) and Álava (ALA), two neighboring regions of northern Spain. The two regions have a similar number of hunting licences issued on a per day basis, but while hunting is limited to 3 days per week in ALA, in GIP it is allowed on a daily basis, resulting in a ca. 50% longer period of exposure of game species to hunting-related mortality here. We used a model based on monthly survival estimates to test whether the mortality of Woodcock varied between the two regions. Mean (± SE from a time-constant model) annual survival of Woodcocks was estimated to be 0.37 (± 0.04) and 0.56 (± 0.04) in GIP and ALA, respectively. If we assumed that this difference was only due to the longer period of exposure to hunting, mortality was increased by ca. 10% per additional day of hunting per week. Moreover, we also found that survival was positively associated with temperature in one of the study zones (ALA), suggesting that a high hunting pressure can override the effect of climate-dependent fluctuations. However, further research into fecundity and dispersal is necessary to assess the viability and sustainability of the wintering Woodcock populations under the current hunting regimes in these two zones.

Related staff

  • Giacomo Tavecchia
  • Related departments

  • Animal and Microbial Biodiversity
  • Related projects

  • RESET CTA 161
  • Related research groups

  • Ecology and Evolution