European Roller © A. Stoecker

The European Roller is an iconic species of European farmland. This summer visitor suffered large declines in the past in its breeding grounds in southern and eastern Europe and has already gone extinct in several central European countries. The main causes of decline are habitat degradation, due to intensification of agriculture and abandonment of traditional agricultural practices, loss of nest sites and high levels of persecution during migration.

BirdLife in Hungary (MME), as the leader of a five-year LIFE+ funded project focused on the conservation of the European Roller in the Carpathian Basin, organised an international conference with the aim of bringing together experts from across the species’ range to update the 2008 Species Action Plan for the European Roller. 

International collaboration is essential for the conservation of a long-distance migrant such as the European Roller. BirdLife Cyprus, as a project partner, was among 80 participants representing 27 countries, including the European breeding grounds of the species, migration routes as well as wintering grounds in sub-Saharan Africa. The conference, which took place in Kecskemét, Hungary, last month, was also attended by representatives of BirdLife International and the Convention of Migratory Species, demonstrating international willingness not only to update the Europe-focused Species Action Plan, but also to sow the seeds for extension of the plan to cover the entire flyway of European Rollers.

We look forward to continuing to contribute to European Roller conservation in Europe and beyond as part of a flyway working group for this flagship species.

January 2017