Aves, p�le ornithologique de Natagora

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Aves, 36/1-3 | 1999 | 141-178

  The Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio) in North-West France.
Chabot, E.

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Article summary

In the past, Red-backed Shrikes were abundant in North-West France (Brittany, Normandy, Atlantic coast). During the last century this species was hunted by man and suffered from alterations in the agricultural landscapes. In this eccentric region with cool summer climates and limited preys, Red-backed Shrikes progressively disappeared from vast areas undergoing the rooting-up of bushes and the rationalization of landscape management. During the last centuries, the increase of productiveness worsened the situation. The impact of chemicals (pesticides and herbicides) is obvious, reaching a climax in 1963. Since then, maize increases at the expense of favourable fields. This explains why the 500 remaining pairs in these 12 departments live in swamp and hilly landscapes. Half of this population is to be found in Loire-Atlantique (Loire estuary), one third in Calvados (Dives and Pays d'Auge swamps). On the contrary in Southern and Western Brittany where there were earlier plenty of shrikes, the last isolated attempts to breed failed. Sarthe area undergoes a significant decline as well as inner plains where only 10% of the birds are to be found now. Fortunately, in the rich areas such as the 4 departments of the center - each of them inhabited by 10 to 20 pairs -, there is an increase of the shrike population since 1994. A hopeful coming back important to study and to preserve.

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