A decade of common birds monitoring in Cyprus

31 August 2016

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Tracking wild bird populations is an excellent way to monitor the state of our countryside and an understanding of whether these populations are stable, increasing or decreasing is fundamental to bird conservation efforts. A recent BirdLife Cyprus report covering ten years of the Cyprus Common Birds Monitoring Scheme (CBMS) includes indices on the population trends of common breeding birds that provide the best currently available indicators of the state of the environment in Cyprus. Over 40 BirdLife Cyprus volunteers were involved in gathering this data, following a standardised methodology to systematically survey over 150 randomly selected 1 x 1 km squares across Cyprus.

Aggregated indices (see graph above) of population trends derived from ten years (2006 - 2015) of systematic monitoring of 40 common breeding bird species at 156 sites covering all habitats island-wide (except wetlands), show that:
  1. Common Birds Index: numbers of common birds in Cyprus were relatively stable, with the 40-species group recovering after a decline during the period 2006-2009.
  2. Farmland Birds Index: the pattern is similar for the sub-set of 25 bird species that are more-or-less farmland specialists in Cyprus, though the decline during 2006 to 2009 is more marked and subsequent recovery weak, compared to common birds as a whole.
  3. Forest Birds Index: the sub-set of 17 more-or-less forest specialist species shows a very similar trend to that for common birds, but without the clear 2006-2009 decrease in numbers.

A more in-depth analysis of these indices and the CBMS results in general is available here.

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