March 2020

The red-backed shrike Lanius collurio is a territorial, insectivorous, migratory passerine bird with a wide breeding range across the western Palearctic. Shrikes have long been using meadows and pastures in farmland areas to breed, but since the last few decades, forest management has created large clear-cuts with regrown vegetation in spruce plantation forests. In southern Belgium, shrikes are attracted to this novel breeding habitat type that they occupy at higher densities than the traditional farmland habitat patches. But their reproductive performance is markedly lower in clear-cut areas than in the farmland habitat. This ecological trap results from behavioural maladaptation during habitat selection and challenges the use of standard species distribution modelling tools to identify suitable areas for the conservation of the species. Photo by Franck Hollander. Our study can be found here.

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