Population trends of common breeding and wintering birds in Hungary, decline of longdistance migrant and farmland birds during 1999–2012

Tibor Szép 1 , Károly Nagy 2 , Zsolt Nagy 2  and Gergő Halmo 2
  • 1 Institute of Environmental Sciences, College of Nyíregyháza, 4400 Nyíregyháza, Sóstói út 31/b, Hungary
  • 2 MME/BirdLife Hungary, 1121 Budapest, Költő utca 21., Hungary


Based on the Hungarian common bird monitoring scheme (MMM), which is the longest running country-wide monitoring using formal sampling design with representative data for the main habitats in Central-Eastern Europe, we investigated the population trends of common breeding and wintering species. Habitat preference and occupancy of the common breeders, migration strategies and relationships among these characteristics could act behind the population trends. We pointed out that long distance migrant bird species had strong decreasing trends in Hungary and very probably in the entire Pannonian biogeographical region, whereas the partial and short migrant species has increasing trends. Farmland birds had declining trend, which trend became more obvious since the joining of Hungary to the EU. The negative changes in the farmland habitat could influence bird species nesting/foraging mainly in this habitat independently from their migration strategies. Our investigations let us to develop indicators on the basis of migration strategy and habitat usage of common birds to provide regular information about condition of groups of species and their habitats in Hungary and the Pannonian region. The MMM database provide unique opportunity for further investigations of several species, habitats and area specific in a part of Europe where this kind of information is rare yet.

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