Comparison between lek counts and bioacoustic recording for monitoring Western Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus L.)

Abrahams, C. ORCID: 0000-0003-0301-5585, 2019. Comparison between lek counts and bioacoustic recording for monitoring Western Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus L.). Journal of Ornithology. ISSN 2193-7192

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Bioacoustics is the study of animal sounds. The importance of bioacoustics for biological research and the survey and monitoring of bird populations is becoming increasingly recognized. This is particularly the case for the capture of long-term data on rare species that are prone to disturbance or are otherwise difficult to survey. The global population of the Western Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus L.; hereafter ‘Capercaillie’) is declining, and its status in the UK is highly precarious. Current methods for monitoring this species are subject to a number of constraints that affect the quality of collected data. Bioacoustics could provide a useful complement to these existing methods, in particular for the assessment of activity at leks. This study used acoustic recorders to survey Capercaillie vocal activity for a month at ten lek sites, and quantified the numbers of calls produced. Traditional lek count surveys were undertaken at all sites during this time. The recorded vocal activity data (1) correlated with the number of birds recorded by human surveyors, (2) indicated that traditional surveys may be causing some disturbance at the lek sites, and (3) showed that call numbers are related to temporal and environmental variables. The bioacoustic approach can provide high-quality, long-term data, that can be effectively combined with the traditional lek survey technique. It should be utilized more frequently as a survey and monitoring tool to provide structured, coherent results that can be used to aid conservation efforts.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Journal of Ornithology
Creators: Abrahams, C.
Publisher: Springer
Date: 19 March 2019
ISSN: 2193-7192
Divisions: Schools > School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 21 Mar 2019 14:14
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2019 14:14

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