The status and population changes of the Little Owl (Athene noctua) in the south of Békés county (Hungary)

Open access


Between 1995 and 2017 we carried out surveys on the Little Owl (Athene noctua) in Battonya town and Kevermes village in southern Békés county. In 2007 and 2017 we have surveyed nesting sites in the village and the outer areas of Kevermes. The population of the species was estimated at the beginning of the breeding season and in early summer with field observations. Between 1995 and 2017 we collected road-kill data within the entire administrative area of Battonya. We registered each fiund road-killed Little Owl. We found 64 road-kills in Battonya. The number of casualties of the species has increased unambiguously over the studied 23 years. Most of the road-killed Little Owls (53 individuals, 82.81% of the total) were found in summer (June–August). 51 road-killed individuals (79.69%) were noted in the outer areas of Battonya, and 13 specimens (20.31%) in the town. Our results highlight that vehicle traffic is an important mortality factor for the population. The Little Owl has a large population in this landscape, and the population size has increased over the last decade. In the background of this increase is most likely the rise in the number of abandoned houses because of the unfavourable economic and social situation in the region. The local pairs nested only on attics and roof structures in Kevermes, often in residential buildings. The buildings of modern agriculture do not meet the needs of the species. A large part of the population breeds in the village, because with the disappearance of the farms the breeding pairs of the outer areas of Kevermes have disappeared. However, in Battonya the species regularly breeds in the outer areas of the town. Finally, we also collected some ethnoecological data on how local people relate to the species.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Angelici F. M. Latella L. Luiselli L. & Riga F. 1997. The summer diet of the Little Owl (Athene noctua) on the Island of Astipalaia (Dodecanese Greece). – Journal of Raptor Research 3: 280–282.

  • Bankovics A. & Vadász Cs. 2009. Kuvik Athene noctua (Scopoli 1769) [Little Owl]. – In: Csörgő T. Karcza Zs. Halmos G. Magyar G. Gyurácz J. Szép T. Bankovics A. Schmidt A. & Schmidt E. (eds.) Magyar madárvonulási atlasz [Bird Migration Atlas of Hungary]. – Kossuth Kiadó Budapest pp. 361–362. (in Hungarian with English Summary)

  • Bozó L. (subm.) Történelmi madártani adatok a Maros-Körös köze délkeleti feléről [Historical bird data from the southeastern part of Maros-Körös köze]. – Aquila

  • Bozó L. 2017. Kevermes madárvilága [Birds of Kevermes]. – Dél-békési Természetvédelmi és Madártani Egyesület Kevermes (in Hungarian)

  • Csathó A. I. 2009. A mezsgyék természetvédelmi jelentősége és védelmük időszerűsége [Significance and timeliness for nature conservation of the verge]. – Természetvédelmi Közlemények 15: 171–181. (in Hungarian with English Summary)

  • Csathó A. I. & Csathó A. J. 2009a Elütött állatok Battonyán [Roadkills and the dynamics of the faunal casualties in Battonya (SE Hungary)]. – CSEMETE Természet-és Környezetvédelmi Egyesület Battonya – Szeged (in Hungarian with English Summary)

  • Csathó A. J. & Csathó A. I. 2009b A battonya-tompapusztai Külső-gulya flóralistája [The floralist of the Külső-gulya meadow of Battonya-Tompapuszta (SE Hungary)]. – Crisicum 5: 51–70. (in Hungarian with English Summary)

  • Exo K. M. 1992. Population ecology of Little Owls Athene noctua in Central Europe: a review. – In: Galbraith C. A. Taylor I. R. & Percival S. (eds.) The Ecology and Conservation of European Owls. – Joint Nature Conservation Committee UK Nature Conservation No. 5. Petersborough pp. 64–75.

  • Finck P. 1990. Seasonal variation of territory size with the Little Owl (Athene noctua). – Oecologia 83(1): 68–75.

  • Grzywaczewski G. 2009. Home range size and habitat use of the Little Owl Athene noctua in East Poland. – Ardea 97(4): 541–545. DOI: 10.5253/078.097.0420

  • Hadarics T. & Zalai T. (eds.) 2008. Magyarország madarainak névjegyzéke – Nomenclator avium Hungariae – An annotated list of the birds of Hungary. – Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület Budapest p. 148. (in Hungarian and English)

  • Hámori D. 2014. A kuvik [Athene noctua (Scopoli 1769)] táplálkozásának vizsgálata a Kiskunságban [The diet of Little Owls [Athene noctua (Scopoli 1769)] in Kiskunság]. – Magyar Apróvad Közlemények 12: 193–202. (in Hungarian with English Summary) DOI: 10.17243/mavk.2014.193

  • Hámori D. 2016. Antropogén fészkelő-helyekre kényszerült kuvik Athene noctua (Scopoli 1769) konzervációbiológiai lehetőségei a Felső-Kiskunságban [Conservation biological aspects of the Little Owl (Athene noctua Scopoli 1769) adapted to anthropogenic nesting environment Upper-Kiskunság Hungary]. – Erdészettudományi Közlemények 6(2): 175–187. (in Hungarian with English Summary). DOI: 10.17164/EK.2016.014

  • Hámori D. 2017. Kuvikvédelem egy közép-magyarországi mezőgazdasági területen: költési adatok és a mesterséges fészekodvak paramétereinek összefüggései [Little Owl conservation in farmland areas of Central-Hungary: relationships between the nesting data and nestbox parameters]. – Magyar Apróvad Közlemények 13: 187–199. DOI: 10.17243/mavk.2017.187 (in Hungarian with English Summary)

  • Hámori D. Vadász Cs. & Winkler D. 2017. Demographic data on the Little Owl (Athene noctua) in Upper-Kiskunság. – Ornis Hungarica 25(2): 11–22. DOI: 10.1515/orhu-2017-0012

  • Hernandez M. 1988. Road mortality of Little Owl (Athene noctua) in Spain. – Raptor Research 22(3): 81–84.

  • Jakab G. (ed.) 2012. A Körös-Maros Nemzeti Park növényvilága [The flora of Körös-Maros National Park]. – A Körös-Maros Nemzeti Park természeti értékei I. – Körös-Maros Nemzeti Park Igazgatóság Szarvas (in Hungarian)

  • Juillard M. 1989. The decline of the Little Owl Athene noctua in Switzerland. – Raptors in the modern world WWGBP pp. 435–439.

  • Lanszki J. 2006. A kuvik (Athene noctua) táplálékösszetétele egy Somogy megyei külvárosi élőhelyen [Seasonal diet composition of Little Owl (Athene noctua) in a suburban habitat Somogy county]. – Natura Somogyiensis 9: 315–324. (in Hungarian with English Summary)

  • Magyar G. Hadarics T. Waliczky Z. Schmidt A. Nagy T. & Bankovics A. 1998. Magyarország madarainak névjegyzéke. Nomenclator avium Hungariae. An annotated list of the birds of Hungary. – KTM Természetvédelmi Hivatal Madártani Intézete MME Winter Fair Budapest – Szeged p. 86. (in Hungarian and English)

  • Obuch J. & Kristín A. 2004. Prey composition of the Little Owl Athene noctua in an arid zone (Egypt Syria Iran). – Folia Zoologica 53(1): 65–79.

  • Robertson B. A. & Hutto R. L. 2006. A framework for understanding ecological traps and an evaluation of existing evidence. – Ecology 87: 1075–1095. DOI: 10.1890/0012-9658(2006)87[1075:AFFUET]2.0.CO;2

  • Šálek M. Chrenková M. & Kipson M. 2013. High population density of Little Owl (Athene noctua) in Hortobagy National Park Hungary Central Europe. – Polish Journal of Ecology 61: 165–169.

  • Šálek M. Chrenková M. Dobrý M. Kipson M. Grill S. & Václav R. 2016. Scale-dependent habitat associations of a rapidly declining farmland predator the Little Owl Athene noctua in contrasting agricultural landscapes. – Agriculture Ecosystems and Environment 224: 56–66. DOI: 10.1016/j.agee.2016.03.031

  • Šálek M. & Lövy M. 2012. Spatial ecology and habitat selection of Little Owl Athene noctua during the breeding season in Central European farmland. – Bird Conservation International 22(3): 328–338. DOI: 10.1017/S0959270911000268

  • Šálek M. & Schröpfer L. 2008. Population decline of the Little Owl (Athene noctua Scop.) in the Czech Republic. – Polish Journal of Ecology 56(3): 527–534.

  • Schmidt E. 1998. Kuvik [Little Owl]. – In: Haraszthy L. (ed.) Magyarország madarai [Birds of Hungary]. – Mezőgazda Kiadó Budapest pp. 218–219. (in Hungarian)

  • Schönn S. 1986. Zur Status Biologie Ökologie und Schutz des Steinkauzes (Athene noctua) in der D.D.R. [Status biology ecology and protection of Little Owl (Athene noctua) in the D.D.R.]. – Acta Ornithoecologia 1: 103–133. (in German with English Summary)

  • Thorup K. Sunde P. Jacobsen L. B. & Rahbek C. 2010. Breeding season food limitation drives population decline of the Little Owl Athene noctua in Denmark. – Ibis 152(4): 803–814. DOI: 10.1111/j.1474-919X.2010.01046.x

  • Tomé R. Catry P. Bloise C. & Korpimäki E. 2008. Breeding density and success and diet composition of Little Owls Athene noctua in steppe-like habitats in Portugal. – Ornis Fennica 85(1): 22–32.

  • Tucker G. M. & Heath M. F. (eds.) 1994. Birds in Europe: their conservation status. – BirdLife International Cambridge

  • Van Nieuwenhuyse D. Génot J. C. & Johnson D. H. 2008. The Little Owl: Conservation Ecology and Behavior of Athene noctua. – Cambridge University Press Cambridge

  • Voous K. H. 1960. Die Vogelwelt Europas und ihre Verbreitung [Birdlife of Europe and its distribution]. – Hamburg Parey

  • Zabala J. Zuberogoitia I. Martínez-Climent J. A. Martínez J. E. Azkona A. Hidalgo S. & Iraeta A. 2006. Occupancy and abundance of Little Owl (Athene noctua) in an intensively managed forest area in Biscay. – Ornis Fennica 83(3): 97–107.

  • Żmihorski M. Romanowski J. & Osojca G. 2009. Habitat preferences of a declining population of the little owl Athene noctua in Central Poland. – Folia Zoologica 58(2): 207–215.

Journal information
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 278 100 13
PDF Downloads 151 67 5