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The Common Buzzard <i>Buteo buteo</i> Population in a Changing Environment, Central Poland as a Case Study

Gryz, Jakub, Krauze-Gryz, Dagny
Diversity 2019 v.11 no.3
Accipiter gentilis, Buteo buteo, Pinus sylvestris, biomass, birds of prey, breeding, case studies, diet, environmental factors, forests, nesting, population density, progeny, species abundance, stand structure, trees, voles, Poland
Common buzzard is the most abundant bird of prey in Europe, and its population has undergone serious changes. In this study, we focused on a population in Central Poland (study area 105 km2, forests around 24 km2, seven forest complexes) to analyze how certain environmental factors influenced population abundance, breeding parameters, and diet composition. The study was undertaken from 2011 to 2018, and the results were compared with data from two study periods (1982&ndash;1992; 2001&ndash;2003). Current population density was 3.5 pairs/10 km2 of total area and 14.3 pairs/10 km2 of forested area, it was negatively correlated to the abundance of northern goshawk, and it grew in the last few decades. Mammals were dominant prey (72.6% prey items, 38.6% of biomass), but their share in diet changed following rodent availability. A decrease in the share of voles was recorded, reflecting drop in their abundance and dampening of abundance cycles. Breeding parameters were similar to those in the past, and the number of offspring depended on small rodent availability. Buzzards adapted to changes in the stand structure, i.e., when share of Scots pine decreased, they chose it as their nesting tree less frequently. All this showed that buzzard is a very adaptable species.