Written by Gyorgy Szimuly/WorldWaders
WorldWaders today launched a project on understanding recent population status of Kentish Plover across its western Eurasian range. The Kentish Plover have been a regular and abundant breeder on sandy coastal sites as well as on bare inland steppes and soda/natron lakes. By today Kentish Plover have been showing dramatic decline through its entire range particularly due to habitat loss and human disturbance.
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Actual population figures are mainly locally available. Dr Tamás Székely, the Professor of Biodiversity from the University of Bath, who is one of the initiators of this project underlined, “Probably the most recent update on this species is the Atlas of Wader Populations in Africa and w Eurasia. As a contributor of the Kentish Plover chapter, I was surprised how over-optimistic the current estimates are: people keep citing old data which were dubious already back in 1990ies.“
The International Ornithologists’ Union, formerly International Ornithological Congress (IOC), already accepted the split proposal (Küpper et al, 2009) of Kentish Plover subspecies. As a result, American races of Kentish Plover, was raised to species level and named as Snowy Plover (Charadrius nivosus nivosus and C. n. occidentalis) leaving Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) an Eurasian and North African species. The project focuses on the western Eurasian population of Kentish Plover from the Canary Islands to Ukraine including coastal sites of North Africa.
Kentish Plover is still a regular breeder in the Danube Delta. © Gyorgy Szimuly
Dr Tamás Székely also states “My group is working with Kentish Plovers in several countries, and in many sites the populations have rapidly declined compared to 10 or 15 years ago. With the Hungarian colleagues we’re designing a project to re-assess the status of this species, especially in Western Eurasia. I presume, we may have a similar situation in Kentish Plover to that of the Black-tailed Godwit.” It is supposed that the actual IUCN Red List status of Kentish Plover (2010) should be upgraded from Least Concern to at least Near Threatened or even Vulnerable. For this the taxonomic status of Kentish Plover must be approved by BirdLife International as well.
Questions the project aims to be answered are as follows:
- What is the actual population size of Kentish Plover in Western Eurasia?
- Which are the key breeding sites of Kentish Plover within the study “area”?
- Are there local or national population trends available?
The project is divided into two major phases as well as following up implementation of recommended actions to be published in the final status assessment. Status review is planned to be carried out regularly.
For the success of field surveys a network of both professional and amateur surveyors are going to be established. Field workers of many countries have already joined to our initiative and the first nesting records have already been submitted to the dedicated database. We highly appreciate everyone’s help in field surveys in 2011 and 2012. More details of the project is published on Project page of WorldWaders website.