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Aves, 54/3 | 2017 | 97-122

  Natura 2000 species in Wallonia: what has happened for breeding bird populations since the
designation of sites?
Jean-Yves Paquet, Antoine Derouaux, Alain De Broyer, Rudi Dujardin, Vincent Leirens, Jean-Paul Jacob & Jérémy Simar

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Article summary

In Wallonia, the Natura 2000 Network comprises 240 sites and a total of 220 000 ha, covering a wide range of natural environments. The aim of the Network is to provide special protection for heritage habitats and species, known as "Natura 2000", which include in particular 43 species of breeding birds, designated under the "Birds" Directive 2009/147/EC. At the time when the site boundaries were first decided in 2002, an estimate was made of the populations of the Natura 2000 bird species at each site. In 2015, these estimates were updated using a wide range of data sources, ranging from specific surveys to websites that collect observation records. The present article gives an analysis of this new set of estimates. Since 2002, eight new Natura 2000 breeding bird species have been recorded in the Network in Wallonia, and two have been lost. In general, the populations of the main Natura 2000 species are well covered by the Walloon Network; only nine species show less than 50 % of their breeding pairs inside the Network. Across the Natura 2000 Network in Wallonia, few population trends diverge from the trends described for the same species in the neighbouring countries. Among those diverging situations, most worrying is the relatively poor condition of populations of species that are associated with reedbeds (i.e. Eurasian Bittern Botaurus stellaris, Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus). On the other hand, current situation is positive for several rare species associated with open areas – especially moors and peat bogs – in the Ardennes. Here, there are both new populations of some species (Eurasian Teal Anas crecca, Wryneck Jynx torquilla) and stable populations of other species whose populations in neighbouring parts are on the point of collapse (Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor, Whinchat Saxicola rubetra). It is therefore essential that the substantial efforts of habitat restoration in the Ardennes should continue.


  • Jean-Yves Paquet, Antoine Derouaux,
    Alain De Broyer, Rudi Dujardin, Vincent Leirens,
    Jean-Paul Jacob
    Département Études de Natagora
    Rue Nanon 98
    5000 Namur

    Jérémy Simar
    Direction générale opérationnelle de l’Agriculture,
    des Ressources naturelles et de l’Environnement
    Département de l’étude du Milieu naturel et agricole
    Direction de la Nature et de l’Eau
    Chemin des Préaux 10
    B-7321 Bernissart (Harchies)



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