Rescue of threatened stone-curlew celebrated
Friday 23 September 2005
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) said numbers of breeding stone-curlews in England - they are not found anywhere else in the UK - have risen to more than 300 pairs, hitting a national conservation target five years ahead of schedule.
The species had suffered one of the most spectacular declines of any British breeding bird since the Second World War. But while the bird continues to decline elsewhere in Europe, farmers and landowners, including the Ministry of Defence, have been crucial in reversing the stone-curlew's demise in this country, conservationists said.
The two main populations of the bird are on and around Salisbury Plain and in the Brecklands, which straddle the Norfolk-Suffolk border. Now the challenge is to return the stone-curlew to areas it has not inhabited for more than 30 years.
Robin Wynde, RSPB biodiversity policy officer, said: "This has been a great success story. There is no doubt that without conservation work the stone-curlew may no longer have been a UK breeding bird by now. It has come back from the brink."
The stone-curlew is about the length of a crow but slimmer, more elegant, and with much longer wings. Its most striking characteristics are its long yellow legs and powerful large yellow eyes, which enable it to feed on insects at night. In England, it inhabits dry, sparsely vegetated, open ground, but on the Continent the bird also nests on sandy islands where rivers have divided. Spain is the bird's European stronghold.
Stone-curlews used to number more than 1,000 breeding pairs in England before habitats were lost to arable farming and forestry after the Second World War.
Numbers had dropped to about 160 breeding pairs in 1985 but have now reached 103 pairs, mostly in the Salisbury Plain and Porton Down areas, and 187 in the Brecklands. There are smaller populations in north Norfolk and east Suffolk, taking the total to more than 300. A government-backed biodiversity action plan, set in 1995, included a population target of 300 pairs by 2010. A new target will be adopted next year.
As Iraq runs dry, a plague of snakes is unleashed
The top 10 weirdest animal mating rituals
Cornwall hotter than California? British sea temperatures hit all-time high
The ugliest animals on earth: Blobfish, axolotl and proboscis monkey battle it out to be named least attractive beast
Tories’ target seats will be opened up for fracking, says Greenpeace
- 1 Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
- 2 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 3 Is Ebola coming to Britain? UK health officials issue warning to doctors as outbreak fears grow
- 4 Richard Dawkins says 'date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse' on Twitter
- 5 Danish TV reporter is all business up top, all party down below
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
- < Previous
- Next >
Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...
£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...
£50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...