Study Group





Summary of research into potential causes of UK population declines


Although historical records suggest that the British and Irish Ring Ouzel population was stable throughout the 19th century (Holloway 1996), there is evidence of a widespread and steady decline throughout the 20th century (Baxter & Rintoul 1953, Thom 1986, Hutchinson 1989, Gibbons et al 1996, Wotton et al 2002). This decline has continued in recent years, with an estimated 58% population decrease between 1988-91 and 1999 (Gregory et al 2002), resulting in a UK population estimate of 6157-7549 pairs in 1999 (Wotton et al 2002). The underlying causes of this serious decline are unknown, but various hypotheses have been proposed (e.g. changes in grazing regimes, agricultural improvement, afforestation, disturbance, pollution, competition with congeners, habitat loss in wintering areas, problems on migration routes, climate change).

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