Exploring the relationships between wader declines and current land-use in the British uplands

Arjun Amar, Murray Grant, Graeme Buchanan, Innes Sim, Jared Wilson, James W. Pearce-Higgins, Steve Redpath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Capsule Declines of upland waders were associated with habitat cover, forest edge exposure, grouse moor management intensity and crow abundance.

Aims To explore whether changes in the abundance of five wader species in the uplands correlate with the three key hypotheses proposed for their declines.

Methods Using data from repeat upland bird surveys, we examined at two spatial scales ( region and plot) if population changes correlate with vegetation cover, forest edge exposure, grouse moor management intensity or crow abundance.

Results For Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus and Eurasian Curlews Numenius arquata, there was an association between declines and broad-scale vegetation cover; declines being greatest on heather-dominated plots. Exposure to forest edge was associated with declines of European Golden Plovers Pluvialis apricaria and Common Snipe Galinago galinago at the plot scale, and of Northern Lapwings at the regional scale. More intensive grouse moor management was associated with lower declines in Northern Lapwings at both the plot and regional scale, but with greater declines in European Golden Plovers at the plot scale. Northern Lapwings also declined most on plots with the highest Carrion Crow Corvus corone abundance.

Conclusion These analyses represent the first attempt to assess empirically the balance of evidence for different broad-scale land-use and habitat-related drivers of upland wader population declines, providing pointers to their respective roles in driving these declines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-26
Number of pages14
JournalBird Study
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • plover pluvialis-apricaria
  • lapwing vanellus-vanellus
  • curlew-numenius-arquata
  • grouse lagopus-lagopus
  • breeding success
  • golden plover
  • habitat associations
  • heather moorland
  • Northern-Ireland
  • predator control


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