AL5 Alpine breeding birds

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Alpine breeding bird indicator consists of seven bird species that live on alpine birch groves, bald alpine areas and alpine mires. The index has been collected annually since 1996. Interpretation of the index is somewhat uncertain because of short time period and strong natural population fluctuations. Nevertheless, according to this data the development seems quite alarming. In 1996?2012 the alpine breeding bird population decreased on average more than 40 %.

The last strong peak of several species simultaneously occurred in the beginning of the 2000s. Since then the peaks have been considerably lower. On species level the population of Lapland longspur has decreased the strongest. Also the populations of Meadow pipit, Northern wheatear and Common redpoll have gone downhill.


Alpine birds

All sightings of European golden plover, Meadow pipit, Bluethroat, Northern wheatear, Brambling, Common redpoll and Lapland longspur north of cordinate 760 are included in the index. Of these seven species only Lapland longspur is common solely in alpine habitats.

European golden plover, Meadow pipit and Northern wheatear live primarily on open alpine meadows and other bald alpine habitats. In further south European golden plover and Meadow pipit live also on mires and Northern wheatear mostly on areas with human impact, e.g. fields, logging areas and population centres. The annual fluctuation has been strong in data collected on European golden plover, but the population seems to be growing in alpine habitats. Instead, the populations of Meadow pipit and Northern wheatear have decreased.

Bluethroat and Lapland longspur both favor half-open willow groves surrounding brooks or other moist habitats. Compared to Lapland longspur the Bluethroat also succeeds in denser vegetated and more southern habitats. The population of Lapland longspur decreased strongly in the latter half of 1990s and has remained low ever since. The population of Bluethroat decreased somewhat in the 2000s but in recent years the population has grown again.

Brambling and Common redpoll live in alpine birch groves. On average their populations have decreased in 1996?2012. Nevertheless, the population of brambling has started rise in recent years. The population of Common redpoll has remained fairly low since mid-2000s. The population of Common redpoll fluctuates strongly with birch seed yield.

Alpine indicator birds

European Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria
Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis
Bluethroat Luscinia svecica
Northern WheatearOenanthe oenanthe
Brambling Fringilla montifringilla
Common Redpoll Carduelis flammea
Lapland Longspur Calcarius lapponicus

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