Reproduction of the Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus in recent land reclamations in The Netherlands.

Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus) Science Article 6


We studied temporal variation in reproductive performance of Marsh Harriers Circus aeruginosus in two land reclamations in The Netherlands, i.e. South Flevoland and the Lauwersmeerpolder, embanked in 1968 and 1969 respectively. The number of breeding pairs in Flevoland rapidly increased to a maximum of 350 pairs (+- 1 pair km-2) in 1977, followed by a sharp decline in the 1980s due to large-scale cultivation. The same trend was observed in the Lauwersmeer, although colonization was retarded and peak densities were reached later. In both study areas mean dutch size as well as the number of fledglings per nest decreased in the course of the twenty years of study. Two factors were responsible for this decline in reproductive output: (1) decrease of food abundance in the course of the years, and (2) an increase of nest predation, mainly by the Red Fox Vulpes vulpes.

Dijkstra C. & Zijlstra M., ARDEA 85 (1): 37-50.

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