, Volume 70, Issue 8, pp 1136–1142 | Cite as

Habitat and weather requirements of diurnal raptors wintering in river valleys

  • Łukasz JankowiakEmail author
  • Michał Polakowski
  • Tomasz Kułakowski
  • Piotr Świętochowski
  • Tomasz Tumiel
  • Monika Broniszewska
  • Viktória Takács


The winter raptor community was studied in river valleys of North Eastern Poland during the winters of 2000–2010. Via transect counts method we showed the potential drivers of raptor abundance, and co-occurrence patterns. We analysed the influence of weather and habitat factors along on the single species abundance and diversity of the raptor assemblage. We found that higher temperatures corresponded with higher occurrence of the common buzzard Buteo buteo, rough-legged buzzard Buteo lagopus, Eurasian sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus, hen harrier Circus cyaneus and lower of the common kestrel Falco tinnunculus. When considering the effect of each habitat variable on the whole raptor assemblage, the relative proportion of urban areas to pasture had the most distinct effect on species abundance and diversity. Most of species were found to be less abundant in areas with a high proportion of urban areas, while some, like the Eurasian sparrowhawk and the northern goshawk Accipiter gentilis, occurred more often on such areas. We observed that the difference in the number of these species could be explained mainly by the different habitat requirements due to individual food preferences and flexibility of migration strategies.

Key words

birds of prey urbanization wetlands habitat use 


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We would like to thank all of the observers from the Biology Students Scientific Club at the Institute of Biology, University of Białystok, supervised by W. Chętnicki, for the years of effort to organize the Wintering Birds Survey. This paper is a collection of years of engagement of many counters, especially: J. Banach, P. Białomyzy, A. Czerwiec, A. Gabiński, G. Grygoruk, M. Junewicz, W. Januszkiewicz, P. Kłosowski, J. Kosior, K. Krahel, A. Krasnodębska, T. Markowski, Ł. Mazurek, A. Nawrocki, S. Niedzwiecki, R. Polak, W. Sawicki, M. Skierczyński, D. Sokołowski, K. Ł. Meina, R. Siuchno, Sokołowski, J. Stepaniuk, M. Trzcinka, M. Włodkowski, A. Wnorowska, M. Zahorowska, T. Złotkowski. We would like to thank about 50 other people who were not mentioned here for their help during the surveys. We also thank S.J. Potting and J. Przybylska for the language corrections.


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Copyright information

© Slovak Academy of Sciences 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Łukasz Jankowiak
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michał Polakowski
    • 2
  • Tomasz Kułakowski
    • 3
  • Piotr Świętochowski
    • 4
  • Tomasz Tumiel
    • 4
  • Monika Broniszewska
    • 5
  • Viktória Takács
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Vertebrate Zoology and Anthropology, Faculty of BiologyUniversity of SzczecinSzczecinPoland
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Protection and ManagementBiałystok University of TechnologyBiałystokPoland
  3. 3.Polish Society for the Bird ProtectionKolejowa-WejmutkaBiałowieżaPoland
  4. 4.Natural Society DubeltMichałowoPoland
  5. 5.Biology Students Scientific Club at the Institute of BiologyUniversity of BiałystokBiałystokPoland
  6. 6.Institute of ZoologyPoznan University of Life SciencesPoznańPoland

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