This note evaluates the
numerical change in the Red-backed Shrike populations inhabiting two
contrasting areas (coastal farmlands and inland pasturelands) in the Basque
Country in 1974-1975 and 2014-2016. It attempts to show whether a decrease in these
populations occurred before the onset of the Spanish bird monitoring programme (Sacre,
1998), which has detected declines of 58% (year 2014) and 75% (year 2016) from
1998. Results indicate the collapse of the two populations, with a loss of 95%
of breeding pairs over the last forty years. The trends cannot be only explained
by tree and urban encroachment in the study areas. However, because of environmental
differences between the two study areas, it may be inferred that the decline could
be related to processes acting on the species at larger scales. The results
highlight our incomplete temporal scope for assessing the actual trends of this
declining species and suggest a need to review its conservation status.
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