Archived 2020 topic: Red-legged Partridge (Alectoris rufa – reclassify from Least Concern to Vulnerable

Please note: This discussion topic is one of a set about species that are endemic or nearly endemic to the European Union (EU), and whose status in the EU therefore effectively determines their global status. To ensure consistency between the 2020 global and EU Red List assessments of these species, this set of topics is being fast-tracked through BirdLife’s Globally Threatened Bird Forums to inform decisions on the EU (and global) status of relevant species, which must be finalised and communicated to the European Commission by mid-April 2020. Topics on other species will be posted on the Forums shortly, for discussion later in the spring, as per usual. The results of the 2020 global Red List update for birds will be published by IUCN and BirdLife in early December.

Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa is endemic to SW Europe and to the European Union (EU). Spain holds around 83% of the global population, Portugal around 12% and France around 4%, with small populations in NW Italy and Andorra (BirdLife International 2015). Introduced non-native populations elsewhere (e.g. UK and Macaronesian islands) do not count towards this assessment.

The species is currently listed as Least Concern, as when last assessed it was not thought to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under any of the IUCN Red List Criteria. Globally, it has a very large range (>1.7 million km2) and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criteria (B and D2). Its population size is also extremely large (10–14 million mature individuals; BirdLife International 2015), and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criteria (C and D1). Therefore, the only potentially relevant criterion is A, which relates to reductions in population size. The species’s population has been declining steadily across its range since at least the 1970s, and it has long been considered a species of conservation concern in Europe (Tucker & Heath 1994; BirdLife International 2004, 2015). However, its overall rate of decline was not thought to be sufficiently rapid to approach the threshold for listing as Vulnerable under Criterion A (>30% decline over 10 years or three generations, whichever is longer).

In late 2019, all 28 EU Member States were obliged to complete their second 6-yearly report to the European Commission (EC) under Article 12 of the EU Birds Directive, including their latest information on the sizes and trends of the populations and ranges of all naturally occurring wild bird species. Under an EC contract to evaluate the EU population status of each species, BirdLife has now analysed these new data, which indicate that this species’s population has declined significantly in recent years, and that this decline is ongoing. Specifically, the latest trend data suggest that the species’s population has declined overall by 40-45% over the last 10 years (the relevant time period over which to evaluate this species’s trend, whose generation length is estimated to be 2.1 years; Bird et al. 2020). This rate of decline corresponds extremely well with that reported by PECBMS (the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme), which incorporates data from Spain, Portugal and France, and shows a steep decline since 2008.

Threats driving this decline are considered to include agricultural intensification and expansion, unsustainable hunting, abandonment of traditional game management techniques, urbanisation, genetic introgression as a result of restocking with other Alectoris species or hybrids, and disease transmission (Tucker & Heath 1994; BirdLife International 2015; Buenestado Malfeito 2018).

Overall, this species’s global population has declined by more than 40% over the last 10 years, and is continuing to decline, thereby qualifying it for reclassification from Least Concern to Vulnerable under Criterion A2ade+3bde+4abde (past, future and present declines).

Relevant comments and information on this fast-track topic are welcome by 8 April 2020, please.

Please note that this forum topic is not designed to be a general discussion about the ecology of the species, but rather a discussion of the species’s Red List status. Therefore, please ensure your comments are relevant to the species’s Red List status and the information requested. By submitting a comment, you confirm that you agree to the BirdLife Forums’ Comment Policy.

References

Bird, J.P., Martin, R., Akçakaya, H.R., Gilroy, J., Burfield, I.J., Garnett, S., Symes, A., Taylor, J., Şekercioğlu, Ç.H. & Butchart, S.H. (2020). Generation lengths of the world’s birds and their implications for extinction risk. Conservation Biology. https://doi.org/10.1111/cobi.13486

BirdLife International (2004) Birds in Europe: population estimates, trends and conservation status. Cambridge, UK: BirdLife International (BirdLife Conservation Series No. 12).

BirdLife International (2015) European Red List of Birds: Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa. http://datazone.birdlife.org/userfiles/file/Species/erlob/summarypdfs/22678711_alectoris_rufa.pdf

Buenestado Malfeito, F. J. (2018). Ecología y dinámica poblacional de la perdiz roja (Alectoris rufa) en España. https://helvia.uco.es/handle/10396/16277

Tucker, G.M. & Heath, M.F. (1994) Birds in Europe: their conservation status. Cambridge, UK: BirdLife International (BirdLife Conservation Series No. 3).

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33 Responses to Archived 2020 topic: Red-legged Partridge (Alectoris rufa – reclassify from Least Concern to Vulnerable

  1. Dear all,

    In support of uplisteing to vulnerable and recognizing that genetic introgression is already acknowledged as a threat I still would like to direct attention to the following two publications which deliver evidence of the increased fitness and reproductive potential of hybrids between Chukar and Red-legged Partridges:
    Casas, F. et al. (2011) Fitness consequences of anthropogenic hybridization in wild red-legged partridge (Alectoris rufa, Phasianidae) populations. Biol Invasions DOI: 10.1007/s10530-011-0062-3

    Barbanera, F. et al. (2010) Genetic consequenses of intensive management in game birds. Biological Conservation 143, 1259–1268 DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2010.02.035

    As a consequense firstly released hybrids have a competative advantage over original populations at least initialy and potentially in altered habitat. Secondly this fact of increased productivity is purposely used by some gamebird producers to increase productive output and financial gain.

    Kind regards
    Simon Bruslund
    Chair, World Pheasant Association, Germany
    Member, IUCN Galliformes Specielist Group

  2. Juan Traba says:

    Dear all,

    I strongly support the uplisting of Red-legged Partridge to Vulnerable. Red-legged Partridge has shown regressive trends in Spain similar to those of many other species in farmland areas, associated with processes of agrarian intensification. Among them, sensitivity of this species to insecticide-coated seeds has been demonstrated (see below-mentioned articles).

    Ana Lopez-Antia, Manuel E. Ortiz-Santaliestra, François Mougeot & Rafael Mateo. 2013. Experimental exposure of red-legged partridges (Alectoris rufa) to seeds coated with imidacloprid, thiram and difenoconazole. Ecotoxicology volume 22, pages125–138.

    Ana Lopez‐Antia Jordi Feliu Pablo R. Camarero Manuel E. Ortiz‐Santaliestra Rafael Mateo. 2016. Risk assessment of pesticide seed treatment for farmland birds using refined field data. Journal of Applied Ecology, 53, 1373–1381.

    Ana Lopez-Antia, Manuel E. Ortiz-Santaliestra, Pablo R. Camarero, François Mougeot, Rafael Mateo. 2015. Assessing the Risk of Fipronil-Treated Seed Ingestion and Associated Adverse Effects in the Red-Legged Partridge. Environ. Sci. Technol, 49, 22, 13649-13657

  3. Dear Colleagues:
    I went over this web page and read carefully the information provided in order to support the reassessment of the red-legged partridge from Least Concern to Vulnerable.

    According to my experience based on a series of studies carried out over the last 20 years across the whole of the species’ range, I would like to say that I strongly agree with the proposal in point. Particularly, I confirm the occurrence of an alarming decline in the easternmost part of the Alectoris rufa range, the North West Italy, where introgression with the congeneric chukar partridge (Alectoris chukar) came to such a geographic extent that virtually no peninsular red-legged partridge populations are considered genetically intact. And this holds for both wild and captive resources (see below)

    As paradigmatic example of what is going on in Italy, I bring to your attention the population inhabiting Elba Island (c. 225 Km2, Tuscan Archipelago National Park). Although genetically introgressed, long natural history, absence of restocking over the last 25 years and self-sustainability are remarkable traits making this population the most important Italian wild resource for the species in point. Since 1990s censuses that first evidenced a negative demographic trend, population decline continued even after the institution of the National Park and it is still ongoing (officially no more than 50 pairs survive, although some rebound might have occurred in the very last years according to my personal field observations). The island has been experiencing deep changes in terms of land use and vegetation. Decreased habitat patchiness following rural abandonment in the context of the broader shift from an agriculture-based towards a tourism-based economy and increased cover of Mediterranean maquis and woodlands at the expense of garrigue hampered partridge gene flow. I feel that up-listing A. rufa to Vulnerable might help protecting further this resource on Elba Island, which may still be conceived as the ultimate repository for part of the otherwise extinct Italian A. r. rufa genome. Indeed, introgression does not necessarily mean that the entirety of the native nuclear genome of Elba partridges has wiped out.

    I would like also to underline ongoing widespread practice to export captive Iberian red-legged partridges across the species’ range and especially to Italy. Such phenomenon dealt not only with ex situ facilities, yet, of course, also with wild populations following restocking events. In the last two decades, we found direct and indirect evidences of this genetic threat in important stock-farms (e.g., Tuscany) and wild populations (e.g., Elba but also Piedmont). We feel that up-listing, again, could help reducing this phenomenon, which is mining in depth the spatial genetic structure of the species and adaptive potentialities of its local populations. Up-listing A. rufa might help tacking continuous exchange of captive resource across the species range, a phenomenon which has deeply flattened genetic divergence among morphological subspecies thus leading to increasingly higher level of biotic homogenisation.

    Filippo Barbanera
    University of Pisa, Italy

    Reference
    G. Forcina, M. Guerrini, F. Barbanera (2020). Non-native and hybrid in a changing environment: conservation perspectives for the last Italian red-legged partridge (Alectoris rufa) population with long natural history. Zoology, 138: 125740

  4. SANTIAGO ITURMENDI MAGUREGUI says:

    El estado de la perdiz roja es el adecuado para realizar un aprovechamiento moderado y racional, como el que está realizando en España.
    Hay que destacar el incremento de capturas que se ha producido en los dos últimos años, sobre todo en gran parte parte de España.
    La especie está sujeta a prácticas agrícolas muy dañinas que pudieran evitarse en la Política Agraria Comunitaria, a la vez que se beneficiarían otras aves cinegéticas o no.
    La caza no supone ningún tipo de peligro para la especie y así lo demuestran.los datos de capturas que han mejorado en los últimos años.
    Es recomendable tomar medidas de mejoras de hábitat para la especie, como siembras específicas, tiras de cereal sin cosechar y la no utilización de productos fitosanitarios, cuya toxicidad se ha demostrado en periodos de reproducción y crianza. Fedenca y el Irec en España en trabajos publicados.
    Desde la Federación de Caza de Castilla y León nuestro total rechazo al cambio de catalogación de una especie emblemática en la región mas grande de Europa y que lleva manteniendo el nivel de capturas mas de una década e incluso como se ha dicho, incrementándose en los dos últimos años.

  5. Guillermo Ceballos says:

    Natural Partridge populations are in a constant struggle with a changing agricultural habitat, earlier harvest schedules, and lack of abundant and diverse food resources. But these populations cannot be separated from the repopulation stocks that are abundant and in the case of many regions in Spain, such as mine, these should be carried out only with birds purchased in certified game farms where they are genetically acceptable, close to pure red-legged partridges.
    If the species were to be considered vulnerable, hunting would be banned, and therefor repopulations with these individuals would come to a full stop. ( apart of the economic damage caused to the farms) This would have an enormous impact on the predation of other open-field and agricultural species mostly of those that breed on the ground. This already happened during the economic crisis between 2010-2012 when hunters could not purchase farm partridges for re-population and predation on little bustard increased significantly. Similar but sustained effects could occur if the species is listed and hunting banned, most greatly if the real threat is not tackled and that is changing around the whole European agricultural policy, which is not likely to happen soon.
    I consider that the listing of yet another hunting species ( but this one with our existing capacity to “repopulate with almost genetically pure individuals” which are actually the ones hunters hunt) will only have enormous backfire effects on partridge and other openland and agricultural species.

  6. Jorge Bernués says:

    Dear all,
    Based on my personal observations in northern Spain, I doubt that red partridge populations have decreased by 40-45% in the last 10 years. Although, it is a fact that their populations have decreased perhaps by 60-70% since 1970, but since 2000 the populations have been stable.

    From 1970 to 2000 there was an intensification of agriculture (concentration of land ownership, monoculture, …) that devastated the habitat of the species; The use of plant protection products has also impacted the productivity of the species; and the abandonment of the population that inhabited the rural environment has caused an increase in the populations of generalist predators that consume the partridge (wild boar, carnivores, …). Although, since 2000 these factors have been stable and there is no major impact on partridge populations.

    As for hunting, in the north of Spain their hunting was popular in the last century, but as of the year 2000, with the reduction of their populations, the difficulty of their hunting increased. This factor, together with the increase in wild populations of ungulates, made that most hunters changed the hunting of small game (the partridge or the rabbit), by the hunting of big game (the wild boar or the roe deer). On the other hand, intensive hunting management is not very widespread, so the risks of farming partridge release are reduced.

    In the central and southern of Spain the situation is different. Partridge populations are more abundant than in the north and their hunting is still popular, although they also suffered a significant reduction due to the aforementioned factors. The demand for partridge hunting makes its management more intensive and in this case the risks of repopulation with farm partridges may be greater.

    In any case, my opinion is that the change in status of the red partridge should not entail the prohibition of its hunting, but rather an improvement in its management that would ensure a sustainable use.

    A change of status that would lead to the prohibition of their hunting, would imply the abandonment of its management by the hunters (installation of feeders, drinkers, fox control, …) which would suppose a greater decline in the partridge populations.

    Jorge Bernués Cidad
    Forest engineer master in hunting management in the province of Huesca, Aragón, SPAIN.

  7. Antonio Riudavets Florit says:

    Buenos dias a todos
    Estos totalmente en contra de catalogar la perdiz roja como especie vulnerable
    Aqui las parejas de perdices son abundantes en estas epocas en los cotos que tienes una
    buena gestion y es un recurso que nos da la tierra para poder comer ahora que vendran malos tiempos,siempre respetanto cupos y vedas que son muy correctos.
    Aqui se puede demostrar que donde no se caza ni gestiona la perdiz esta muy por debajo de los cotos que se cuida,por eso creo que si se catalogara la perdiz seria su fin,los que estan en las ciudades no las iran a cuidar
    Saludos
    Toni Riudavets Florit

  8. As a farmer in areas with the presence of red partridge and manager of agricultural forest areas in different areas of Catalonia, I have experienced the reduction in the population of red partridge that has recovered somewhat in the last two or three years.
    The change of status of the red partridge should not prohibit its hunting in any case, since this would produce the opposite effect that is intended.
    The decrease in populations has been produced in order of importance, firstly by the intensification of agriculture as is known to all (herbicides, land concentration, direct sowing, seed coating, sizing of tillage, etc.)
    Secondly, due to a change in habitat and, specifically, the agroforestry system with the increase in the forest area to the detriment of the small plots that are normally cereal-based or of non-intensive irrigation for inputs from the farms themselves,
    And thirdly, due to the increase in predators and ungulates.
    The only way to offset this trend is management, and management can only be done with hunting yields and with agri-environmental policies that have been timidly initiated in the DUN (distribution of crop types by farm and fallow).

    At the moment the hunting allows the management and the increase of the wild populations. Hunting clubs self-regulate extraction rates, improve the habitat with drinking troughs and crops that they leave for the partridge and legally balance predators and ungulates, and very importantly, they control illegal hunting and poaching, that would occur on the species.
    On the other hand, the economic impact of hunting in rural areas is very important, it is sustainable and it is a source of work and it cannot be dispensed with.

  9. Ricardo Vila says:

    No se puede catalogar la perdiz roja como especie vulnerable, son muchas las asociaciones de cazadores que mantienen y cuidan su habitat, controlan sus depredadores y se encargan de mantener su pureza y bravura. De no ser por estas asociaciones no solo la perdiz roja estaria en peligro sino que otras especies como el conejo, liebre, paloma, incluso al contrario de como mucha gente piensa depredadores como el zorro, lobo, aguila, búho, y un largo etcetera, desaparecerian.

  10. José Ginés says:

    Soy un gran apasionado de la perdiz roja salvaje y de tantos fringílidos y aves pequeñas y medianas del Sistema Ibérico español y llevo muchos años estudiando su naturaleza su cría su reproducción y he podido observar en estos últimos años a la perdiz roja salvaje sobre todo en la última década que se ha multiplicado en muchos puntos donde hace años no había ni una y es muy cierto que la perdiz roja tanto como otros fringílidos han sufrido mucho estos últimos 30 años debido a los pesticidas herbicidas sulfatos a la siembra tratada y pintada a los pesticidas que se le echan al trigo cuando está verde a la cebada a la avena y a otros cereales, también para matar la hierba han utilizado herbicidas muy potentes, eso es lo que ha hecho mermar muchísimo a fringílidos incluyendo también la perdiz roja aunque repito esta última ha sido la que ha podido sobrevivir a todo incluyendo ha podido sobrevivir en la zona donde hay pinos y arbustos a los fuertes pesticidas vertidos para matar la procesionaria las orugas del Pino en los años 90 eso hizo una gran mortandad de aves fringílidas incluyendo la perdiz en muchos puntos de Sistema Ibérico aún así repito la perdiz roja a sobrevivido y en diferentes puntos de España donde suelo ir he podido ver cómo aumentado la densidad de perdiz roja ya que esta ave es una ave resistente que se adapta a cualquier circunstancia y es más en las zonas urbanas donde no hay comida donde no siembran donde no hay Arbolea donde no hay pesticidas ni sulfatos ahí en esa zona sin apenas tener comida a podido sobrevivir la perdiz roja ya que ésta ave con un poco de agua que caiga en verano con un poco de semilla e insectos y en invierno con verdín sobrevive perfectamente… Para mí la perdiz roja salvaje goza de una salud increíble y de una buena densidad repartidas por toda la geografía española…

    Si me permiten pienso que a la hora de valorar un animal o un ave es importante hablar con expertos y no hablamos de expertos de sillón y de grandes estudios hablamos con expertos de la calle incluso puedo llegar más allá de un forestal, que sabe lo que ocurre en su coto hay sabiduría más profunda indocumentada, es el furtivo ese es el que sabe la cantidad de especies que puede haber en la finca o alrededor de su pueblo el que sabe su cría su habitat dónde se puede cazar dónde crian y la abundancia que hay en dichas especies, es el que mejor nos puede asesorar todavía más que el forestal al cual respeto mucho con mi debido respeto hacia todos… HAY QUE SALIR A LA CALLE, SALIR A LOS MONTES Y DEJARSE LLEVAR POR LA GENTE DE LOS PUEBLOS, LOS QUE VIVEN CERCANOS A LA ESPECIES QUE QUEREMOS ESTUDIAR, ELLOS NOS DIRAN LA VERDAD.

  11. It is difficult to assess the status of Alectoris rufa, because its population are strongly influenced by habitat management actions as:
    -habitat conservation and creation, driven by hunting interest;
    -predator and boar control;
    -restocking for declining population;
    -reduction in hunters numbers and consequent decline of hunting interest
    It could be true that the status interval could extend to category “Vulnerable” in some area, but it is wise to consider consequences of such classification, because it is very easy that the “Vulnerable” definition can cause strong reduction in active management initiatives, and so be counterproductive. At least for this reason we consider better a gradual change from “Least concern” to “Near threatened”. As we know such species has a great socio-economic value. In Italy, an active management based on restocking from years ’70 allowed extension in range. Then restrictions in restocking , that could have been useful particularly in new occupied areas, have worsened status of species, in conjunction with other factors as: less investments in habitat management, strong limitation in predator control, boar population increase, etc..
    Dr. Barbanera declares export of Spanish partridges in Italy, but in our country no import from Spain was ever allowed by Authorities, so it is an illegal activity, that cannot be influenced by Up-listing of species. Such Up-listing can’t also have any impact on raising stocks, that should be addressed with different tools, f.i. genetic selection of breeders.

    Michele Sorrenti
    Valter Trocchi

    Ufficio Studi e Ricerche Faunistiche e Agro Ambientali
    Federazione Italiana della Caccia

  12. Mario says:

    Soy cazador y amante de la naturaleza, después de muchas horas de campo, puedo decir que la perdiz roja es un animal maravilloso, con un comportamiento social muy evolucionado, basado en la unidad familiar, con gran apego entre los individuos, que se ayudan entre sí, muestran afecto y sufrimiento por sus allegados. Si todavía sigues pensando en matar a estos animales, capaces de sentir la vida, piensa en que realmente están disminuyendo su número, por la modificación de hábitats, cultivos y envenenamiento del campo (insecticidas, fungicidas, plaguicidas…), por lo que debe prohibirse también su caza para proteger el patrimonio biológico natural.
    Sí a declarar la perdiz roja en peligro de extinción y a prohibir su caza.

    • Juan says:

      Quizás si como tú dices está disminuyendo su número por la modificación de hábitats, cultivos y envenenamiento del campo (insecticidas, fungicidas, plaguicidas …), lo que haya que prohibir sea eso y no la caza…por aquello de para solucionar un problema atacar sus causas y no las actividades que queremos eliminar por gusto, y que lejos de perjudicar a la especie, la benefician. Sin cazadores, no quedaría una perdiz en muchos lugares de España….

  13. Nicolás López Jiménez says:

    Dear all,
    In support of reclassification from Least Concern to Vulnerable como Species Conservation Program Officer of SEO/BirdLife, I have to say that the Red-legged Partridge has suffered a 40% decline from 1998-2019.
    In Spain, the latest trend data from Spain suggest that it strong declined during 1998-2019: -40%.
    Average year-on-year evolution (1998-2019): -2,8.

    These are the most exact data of the publication: SEO/BirdLife (2019), incorporating the 2019 population trend data.

    On the other hand, in Spain hunting of this species is totaly unsustainable, and even hunting in the breeding season called “partridge with claim” is being allowed. According to the official data of the hunting bags offered by the Ministry of the Environment, in Spain an average of 3,000,000 partridges are hunted annually.

    Hunting bags in Spain 2005-2017. Number of Red-legged Partridge hunted per year (Ministry oficial data. MAPA, 2019):

    year nº individuals
    2005 3.320.499
    2006 3.381.652
    2007 3.637.370
    2008 3.416.874
    2009 3.360.157
    2010 2.957.649
    2011 3.100.550
    2012 2.661.174
    2013 2.423.519
    2014 2.367.160
    2015 2.645.107
    2016 2.702.038
    2017 2.855.908

    References:
    SEO/BirdLife (2019) Programas de seguimiento y grupos de trabajo de SEO/BirdLife 2018. SEO/BirdLife: Madrid. https://doi.org/10.31170/0073

    MAPA. 2019. Estadística anual de caza. Tablas resumen 2005-2017. Ministerio de Agricultura Pesca y Alimentación. https://www.mapa.gob.es/es/desarrollo-rural/estadisticas/Est_Anual_Caza.aspx

  14. Simon Dowell says:

    Dear Colleagues,

    I have read the comments provided here with great interest and thoroughly respect the views expressed and the passion of those who are concerned with this species. This case presents us with a conundrum in that the scientific evidence points strongly towards this species now justifying a classification of Vulnerable under criterion A, and yet if not handled sensitively such an uplisting could deter effective conservation measures by those for whom producing a surplus for hunting is an important economic incentive.

    Firstly, I would agree that the data presented points very strongly to a decline above the threshold of 30% over 10 years/3 generations. This is consistent with a decline in farmland birds generally, with agricultural intensification and increased pesticide use in particular as the primary causes. This has been well documented in the UK (e.g. Robinson & Sutherland 2002) and has caused the steep decline of the grey partridge Perdix perdix, across much of its European range (Gee et al. 2018). A key factor for Galliformes including both grey and red-legged partridges is the requirement for high densities of invertebrates in the first few weeks of life, which are compromised by modern intensive farming methods (Potts & Aebischer 1991). There is no reason to suggest that the red-legged partridge population in Southern Europe has been able to buck this trend seen elsewhere and the data reviewed here bear this out. Given the more restricted range of this species and that it is a European endemic, this gives cause for concern.

    It is true to say, however, that under certain conditions and with the right management regime, farms and estates managed for hunting wild game can provide the optimal conditions for the recovery of populations of partridges. The practical management required, based on sound science, is very well summarised in Sotherton et al. (2014) for example and practised on a number of land holdings across Europe to the benefit of both grey and red-legged partridges and other species. Indeed I have seen it myself in the UK, where wild grey partridges are all but absent from large swathes of the countryside, but hang on in small but thriving populations on estates managed for shooting.

    A note of caution, however. Many hunting enterprises are maintained annually by releases of game farm reared birds to boost wild populations. There is very little evidence that these contribute to wild populations (Parish & Sotherton 2007). In my own PhD in the 1980s I demonstrated that unless parent-reared, these birds possessed poor anti-predator behaviour and survival skills. Added to this, most releases of red-legged partridges involve birds of hybrid origin (with chukar partridge) which risk dilution of the genetic integrity of the wild population – this has been considered by some of the comments here.

    In conclusion, therefore, I support the uplisting of red-legged partridge to Vulnerable, based on the evidence now available, but I would warn against this being used to justify a blanket ban on hunting in all circumstances. Instead it should precipitate a review of hunting practices to ensure that responsible farmers and landowners who practice conservation measures to support the wild populations of the birds are granted permits for controlled hunting of the species where local populations allow.

    Cited references:

    Gée, A., Sarasa, M., & Pays, O. (2018). Long–term variation of demographic parameters in four small game species in Europe: Opportunities and limits to test for a global pattern. Animal Biodiversity and Conservation, 41(1), 33–60. https://doi.org/10.32800/abc.2018.41.0033

    Parish, D. M. B., & Sotherton, N. W. (2007). The fate of released captive‐reared grey partridges Perdix perdix: Implications for reintroduction programmes. Wildlife Biology, 13(2), 140–149. https://doi.org/10.2981/0909-6396(2007)13%5B140:TFORCG%5D2.0.CO;2

    Potts, G.R. & Aebischer, N.J. (1991) Modelling the population dynamics of the grey partridge: conservation and management. Bird Population Studies: Their Relevance to Conservation Management (eds C.M. Perrins, J.D. Lebreton & G.J.M. Hirons), pp. 373–390. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

    Robinson, R. A., & Sutherland, W. J. (2002). Post‐war changes in arable farming and biodiversity in Great Britain. Journal of Applied Ecology, 39(1), 157–176. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2664.2002.00695.x

    Sotherton, N. W., Aebischer, N. J., & Ewald, J. A. (2014). Research into action: Grey partridge conservation as a case study. Journal of Applied Ecology, 51(1), 5236–5. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.12162

    Simon Dowell, Co-Chair, SSC Galliformes Specialist Group

  15. Claudio Celada says:

    Leaving this comment also on behalf of Marco Gustin

    Italian population is estimated at 2000-4000 adults. In a large portion of the range distribution the species is maintained stable due to ongoing restocking by hunters. often with hybrids from other Alectoris species (chukar) (Barbanera et al. 2009). A study has genetically analyzed individuals captured in 5 locations in Alessandria province (northern Apennine) (Negri et al. 2009). Hybridisation was detected in 4 out of 5 locations. At present, it is not possible to quantify the entity of genetic contamination and dependance of population from restocking projects. The coming Italian Red list will assess the specie as data deficient. For these reasons we support the reclassification of the species as Vulnerable (VU)

  16. Aleix Canovas says:

    Hola ,espero que no cataloguen la perdiz como vulnerable, con todo el lio que tenemos el pais va a necesitar todas las actividades que generen riqueza, y la perdiz genera mucha actividad economica a su alrededor.
    Un abrazo.

  17. Aleix Pujol says:

    Hola a todos.

    En primer lugar decir que estoy totalmente en contra de pasar la perdiz roja a especie vulnerable.

    Personalmente soy y vivo en el mundo rural, formado como Técnico Superior en Gestión de Recursos Naturales y Paisajísticos y también cómo Ingeniero Técnico Forestal recorro cada año más de 40.000 km a lo largo y ancho de la Península Ibérica, en zonas dónde se realiza gestión y aprovechamientos cinegéticos.

    Es sorprendente que se pueda plantear el debate para pasar la Perdiz Roja a especie vulnerable. Sólo se puede entender este planteamiento, habiéndolo hecho desde un despacho sin haber pisado el monte.

    No descubro nada si digo que el principal enemigo que tienen las poblaciones de Perdiz Roja es la agricultura intensiva, por los problemas que esta actividad conlleva (destrucción de hábitat, aplicación de herbicidas, plaguicidas…). Se puede observar que en las zonas agrícolas dónde predominan los minifundios y una actividad agrícola menos agresiva, las poblaciones de perdiz gozan de muy buena salud.

    Otro problema que hay, es el afán de cazar al cazador, las ganas que hay desde muchos sectores ecologistas y animalistas (la mayoría de procedencia urbana) de prohibir esta actividad, sin quererse dar cuenta, ya sea adrede o por ignorancia, de que son los propios cazadores y la gente que vive en el campo son los que cuidan y gestionan el hábitat de esta ave mediante comederos, bebederos y otras muchas acciones, en las que no sólo sacan provecho las perdices sino también otras especies, sean aprovechables cinegéticamente o no.

    Para finalizar creo que catalogar la perdiz roja cómo especie vulnerable sería muy negativo tanto para la propia especie como para muchas zonas rurales que viven de ésta.

    Hi everybody.

    First of all, I’d like to say that I’m totally against categorizing the Red legged partridge as a vulnerable species.

    Personally, I come from and live in the rural world. I trained as a Senior Technician in Natural Resources and Landscape Management and also as a Forestry Technical Engineer, and every year I travel over 40,000 km throughout the Iberian Peninsula, in areas where hunting management and exploitation is carried out.

    It is surprising that the debate can be raised to categorize the Red legged partridge as a vulnerable species. The only way to understand this approach is from an office, without having set foot in the countryside.

    It is not new thing if I say that the main enemy of the Red legged partridge population is intensive agriculture, due to the problems this activity entails (habitat destruction, application of herbicides, pesticides…). It can be seen that in agricultural areas where smallholdings and less aggressive farming activity predominate, partridge populations are in very good health.

    Another problem is the eagerness to hunt the hunter, the desire of many ecological and animalist sectors (mostly from urban areas) to prohibit this activity, either on purpose or ignorance, that it is the hunters themselves and the people living in the countryside who look after and manage the habitat of this bird by means of feeders, drinking troughs and many other actions, in which not only do they take advantage of the partridges but also other species, whether they can be used for hunting or not.

    To conclude, I believe that cataloguing the Red legged as a vulnerable species would be very negative both for the species itself and for many rural areas.

  18. Jesus Nadal y Sebastián Hidalgo says:

    Birdlife’s proposal is based on data from the SACRE (summer) and SACIN (winter) SEO censuses (SEO / BirdLife, 2019) to estimate the decline of the Red-legged Partridge in 10 years, according to IUCN criterion A ( Bird et al., 2020), as criteria B, C and D are not met (IUCN Subcommittee on Standards and Requests, 2017).
    The census methods used are not adequate for the species (Borralho et al., 1996), the dates and the sampling are not representative because they do not consider the eco-ethology of the species (Gregory et al., 2004). Furthermore, the spatial distribution of the samples is inadequate, biased and does not take into account the diversity of hunting grounds (see SEO / BirdLife maps, (2019)). Census methods and sampling should consider the eco-ethology and hunting management of the Red-legged Partridge. Failing to do so, the data does not represent reality and their systematic interpretation leads to erroneous conclusions (Nadal et al., 1992).

    A2ade (reduction from the past by direct observation, exploitation and hybridization problems).
    There is no doubt that the planet’s biodiversity crisis and its effects on wildlife due to man’s use of land and water and global change, e.g. intensive agricultural production, abandonment of extensive and mountain crops, development infrastructure (highways, high-speed train, power lines, channels,…), urbanization, industrialization, pollution, warming,… But there is also undeniable effort that is made in hunting grounds to counteract the effects of this global change in wildlife, and achieve the conservation and sustainable use of Red-legged Partridge. Hunting of the Red-legged Partridge is sustainable, in this sense, the Hunting Management Plans, the Annual Hunting Technical Plans and the Hunting Management Improvement Projects act with: harvest regulation, poaching control, control of predators and habitat improvements to counteract the damages of global change (plots for wildlife, drinking devices, unharvested strips, repopulations of natural vegetation,…) and sustain the rural environment (economic revitalization, training, social development, publications and cultural activities,…) (Nadal et al., 1989). Hybridization with farm partridges occurs especially in the commercially exploited preserves (intensive hunting preserves) this type of exploitations are a minority, below 5% of all hunting land and in extension below 1% of the total land hunting. On the other hand, we must consider that an intensive hunting exploitation is much less harmful to nature and biodiversity than an intensive farming or livestock exploitation, and than any type of urban and industrial exploitation.

    A3bde (suspected reduction for the future with an appropriate abundance index, exploitation and hybridization problems).
    Suspicions of extinction for the future are not exempt from needing a realistic projection of the contextual situation to be credible. So they need to provide a minimum of consistent trajectory that in this case is not glimpsed. In hunting reserves managed according to law, the opposite of this negative projection occurs because in them, partridge populations are recovering as far as the quality of the habitat and the control of predators allow. In Castilla y León, the largest community that occupies 18.6% of Spain, since 1991 a reliable hunting statistics has been collected (Consultora de Recursos Naturales, 2018, 2014). The results of harvest in partridges per 100 ha demonstrate a population fluctuation (X = 2.72, SD = 0.89, N = 27) with a stable trend, for example in 1992 harvest were 1.58 and in 2017 they were 1.52, other robust studies in different areas of the country show the same stable trend (Nadal et al., 2016).
    In contrast, partridge populations are in general decline in Protected Natural Areas due to the impact of predation, due to the abundance of Feral Cats Felis domesticus, Rat Rattus norvegicus, Fox Vulpes vulpes and Wild Boar Sus scrofa. For example, the Mas de Melons Nature Reserve, in the Ebro Valley or the Aigues Tortes i l’Estany de Sant Maurici National Park, in the Pyrenees (we can cite many more examples and demonstrate its evidence). Over the years, the different autonomous communities and the technicians (multidisciplinary) in charge of the Annual Hunting Plans and Technical Hunting Plans do their work better, with the consequent substantial improvement in hunting management since 1990 (year in which the autonomous communities begin to apply the Nature Conservation Law of 1989) (Garrido et al., 2019).
    The existence of conserved states to maintain the wild Red-legged Partridge and the production of biodiversity is an important example that must be protected, recognized and subsidized as a model of land management. As consequence, these spaces are natural reserves that guarantee the conservation of the species against the demand, for intensive and aggressive agricultural production with nature, to produce food and raw materials for man (Nadal et al., 2018).

  19. Jesus Nadal y Sebastián Hidalgo says:

    A4abde (reduction with causes not understood, observed directly with an appropriate abundance index, problem of exploitation and hybridization)
    The validity of the demographic results obtained through the SACRE and SACIN SEO programs is highly debatable, given that the search effort is not standardized and is based on information provided by volunteers of different levels of knowledge. Carrying out more numerous and exhaustive searches in specific areas of Spain, such as the Community of Madrid, Central North and Levantine areas (Llorente, 2020).
    Given the lack of more extensive and scientifically proven information, especially in agricultural areas and hunting grounds, these programs are interesting, just to get an idea of the distribution of some bird species in the areas covered by the volunteers and in the corresponding stations. The partridge’s tendency is stated to be of steep decline in winter, which demonstrates the method’s ineffectiveness due to its inability to detect the species and the less search effort applied during this time (Gregory et al., 2004).
    A population decline should not be interpreted as part of a natural fluctuation unless there is strong evidence for it. The downward phase of a natural fluctuation is not normally considered as a reduction under IUCN criteria (IUCN Subcommittee on Standards and Requests, 2017). There is no scientific evidence that can demonstrate this general reduction of Red-legged Partridge in Spain in the last 10 years. There is data showing significant fluctuations and reproductive failures due to drought in hunting grounds. Consequently, those years reduced hunting pressure and harvest quotas (Llorente, 2016). We can speak of the decline of the Red-legged Partridge in the lands where the impact of predation is not controlled by introduced invasive species such as the Feral Cat Felis domesticus and the Rat Rattus norvegicus, by anthropophilic species such as the Fox Vulpes vulpes, the Wild Boar Sus scrofa, the Genet Genetta genetta, the Egyptian Mongoose Herpestes ichneumon, the Magpie Pica pica, the White Stork Ciconia ciconia and the Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis.
    Security zones are another illustrative example of the need for the care of Red-legged Partridge populations for their conservation. Hunting is not allowed in the security zones. However, in many of them the partridges are in decline or have disappeared due to different causes: accidents due to infrastructure, pollution or predators. A demonstrative example is the surroundings of cities that contain wide security zones, where partridges are in decline or have disappeared. Any Spanish city serves as a demonstrative example.

  20. Jesus Nadal y Sebastián Hidalgo says:

    Birdlife’s proposal moves from the LEAST CONCERN (LC) category to VULNERABLE (VU), skipping the ALMOST THREATENED (NT) category “it is close to satisfying the criteria, or possibly satisfying them, in the near future” which would be the corresponding one, making it clear again that this SEO data is unreliable as it does not follow a logical sequence of events. Conservation must be sustained with protection measures for the species and its habitats, as is done by hunting management.
    In recent years, SEO is following a radical anti-hunting strategy that pits environmentalists against hunters, promoting the guilt of the opponent. This only leads to the collapse of nature, to the contraction of conservation and to having a chain series of biodiversity crises. Our obligation is to cooperate and manage nature as a whole to stop the biodiversity crisis.
    What would be achieved with greater cooperation between ecologists and hunters? Probably the agreements between ecologists and hunters would mean the multiplication of conservation actions. The problem we are facing is broad and global, but unfortunately the proposals are getting narrower and more radical. This Birdlife proposal is isolated, it has no history, social, economic or cultural context. The structural causes of the biodiversity crisis lie in the human population. It is a mistake of negative consequence to create enemies where there must be friends. Is Birdlife really aware of the magnitude of the tragedy of the crisis of biodiversity, wildlife and the rural world? Asking ourselves about how our way of life affects ecosystems and seeking solutions can unite us for the common good.
    Protection based solely on cataloguing species into different types of categories is not effective for the conservation of the species it seeks to protect, since it impedes the active and sustainable management of the population on the ground. To conserve we have to remove negative pressures and restore habitats. It is essential to act on the ecological factors causing the decline (negative), suppressing or mitigating them. And this management can only be applied by owners and hunting managers who have the capacity to act in the field. Always in exchange for a rational and sustainable use of these resources, whose conservation is the main interest.
    Those of us who sign this document are long-standing scientists in this and other species of fauna in different parts of the national territory. Through our applied research, we know first-hand the practical reality of the field. We are primarily concerned with the effective conservation of wildlife and biodiversity in general. We want to expressly state that we are not motivated by part interests and we honestly explicit our concern about the consequences that these changes may have for the species.
    Before facing a change in the conservation category, the repercussions that this measure may cause with respect to the conservation of the species should be studied, especially considering that in these circumstances all the management that is being developed to recover and maintain populations of wild Red-legged Partridge in the hunting grounds would be lost. The alarm about the current state of nature requires the responsibility and solidarity commitment of all people who love nature.
    REFERENCES

  21. Jesus Nadal y Sebastián Hidalgo says:

    REFERENCES
    Bird, J.P., Martin, R., Akçakaya, H.R., Gilroy, J., Burfield, I.J., Garnett, S., Symes, A., Taylor, J., Şekercioğlu, Ç.H., Butchart, S.H.M., 2020. Generation lengths of the world’s birds and their implications for extinction risk. Conservation Biology. https://doi.org/10.1111/cobi.13486
    Borralho, R., Rego, F., Pinto, P.V., 1996. Is driven transect sampling suitable for estimating red-legged partridge Alectoris rufa densities?. Wildlife Biology 2, 259–268. https://doi.org/10.2981/wlb.1996.029
    Consultora de Recursos Naturales, S.L., 2018. Cazdata 2017-2011. Valladolid.
    Consultora de Recursos Naturales, S.L., 2014. Cazdata 21 años de seguimiento cinegético en Castilla y León. Valladolid.
    Garrido J.L., G.C. y F.J., 2019. Las especies cinegéticas españolas en el siglo XXI. Wroclaw, Polonia.
    Gregory, R. D., Gibbons, D. W., Donald, P.F., 2004. Bird census and survey techniques, in: Sutherland, W. J., Newton, I., Green, R. (Ed.), Bird Ecology and Conservation: A Handbook of Techniques. Oxford University Press, New York, p. 408.
    Llorente, J., 2020. La ciencia aplicada a la gestión: ¿Están las especies de caza menor en declive? Federcaza 410, 80-82.
    Llorente, J., 2016. Abundancia, uso del espacio, aprovechamiento e importancia económica de la perdiz roja silvestre (Alectoris rufa) en la provincia de Soria: directrices para su gestión cinegética. PhD Thesis, University of Lérida.
    Nadal, J., Ponz, C., Margalida, A., 2018. Feathers for escape: the transition from juvenile to adult in Red-legged partridges (Alectoris rufa). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 123, 72–80. https://doi.org/10.1093/biolinnean/blx130
    Nadal, J., Ponz, C., Margalida, A., 2016. Age and sex ratios in a high-density wild red-legged partridge population. PLoS ONE 11. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0159765
    Nadal, J., Nadal, J., Rodríguez-Teijeiro, J.D., 1992. The car, strip, and zig-zag censuses to measure the Atectoris rufa populations in de low Cinca. Trans. 18th IUGB Congress. Krakow, in: Bobek, B., Perzanowski, K., Regelin, W. (Ed.), Global Trends in Wildlife Management. Swiat Press, Krakow-Warszawa, pp. 279–282.
    Nadal, J., Nadal, J., Rodríguez-Teijeiro, J.D., 1989. Red-legged partridge density: comparisons among agrosystems and between years. Trans. 19th IUGB Congress, Trondheim., in: Myrberget, S. (Ed.), Trans 19th IUGB Congress. NINA, Trondheim, pp. 117–124.
    SEO/BirdLife, 2019. Programas de seguimiento de avifauna y grupos de trabajo de SEO/BirdLife 2018. SEO/BirdLife, Madrid. https://doi.org/10.31170/0073
    Subcomité de Estándares y Peticiones de la UICN, 2017. Directrices de uso de las Categorías y Criterios de la Lista Roja de la UICN.

  22. Jesus Nadal y Sebastián Hidalgo says:

    La propuesta de Birdlife se fundamenta en los datos de los censos SACRE (estivales) y SACIN (invernales) de SEO (SEO/BirdLife, 2019) para estimar el declive de la perdiz roja en 10 años, según el criterio A de la UICN (Bird et al., 2020), ya que los criterios B, C y D no se cumplen (Subcomité de Estándares y Peticiones de la UICN, 2017). Los métodos de censo usados no son adecuados para la especie (Borralho et al., 1996), las fechas y el muestreo no son representativos porque no consideran la eco-etología de la especie (Gregory et al., 2004). Además la distribución espacial de las muestras es inadecuada, sesgada y no tiene en cuenta la diversidad de los terrenos cinegéticos (véanse los mapas SEO/BirdLife, (2019)). Los métodos de censo y los muestreos deben considerar la eco-etología y la gestión cinegética de la perdiz roja. Al no hacerlo los datos no representan la realidad y su interpretación sistemática lleva a conclusiones erróneas (Nadal et al., 1992).

    A2ade (reducción desde el pasado por observación directa, problemas de explotación e hibridación).
    Es indudable la crisis de biodiversidad que padece el planeta y sus efectos sobre la vida silvestre, debido al uso que hace el hombre de la tierra y el agua, al cambio global: producción agrícola intensiva, abandono de los cultivos extensivos y de montaña, desarrollo de las infraestructuras (autovías, tren alta velocidad, tendidos eléctricos, canales,…), la urbanización, la industrialización, la contaminación, el calentamiento,… Pero también es innegable el esfuerzo que se realiza en los cotos de caza para contrarrestar los efectos de este cambio global en la vida silvestre y conseguir la conservación y aprovechamiento sostenible de la perdiz roja. La caza de la perdiz roja es sostenible, en este sentido, los Planes de Ordenación Cinegética, los Planes Técnicos de Caza Anuales y los Proyectos de Mejora de la Gestión Cinegética actúan con: regulación de capturas, control del furtivismo, control de depredadores y mejoras del hábitat para contrarrestar los daños del cambio global (parcelas para la fauna silvestre, bebederos, franjas sin cosechar, repoblaciones de vegetación natural,…) y sostener el medio rural (dinamización económica, formación, desarrollo social, publicaciones y actividades culturales,…) (Nadal et al., 1989). La hibridación con perdices de granja sucede especialmente en los cotos con aprovechamiento comercial (cotos de caza intensiva) este tipo de explotaciones son muy minoritarias, por debajo del 5% del conjunto de los terrenos cinegéticos y en extensión debajo del 1% del total del terreno cinegético. Por otro lado, debemos considerar que una explotación de caza intensiva es mucho menos dañina para la naturaleza y la biodiversidad que una explotación de agricultura o ganadería intensiva, y que cualquier tipo de explotación urbana e industrial.

    A3bde (reducción sospechada para el futuro con un índice de abundancia apropiado, problemática de explotación e hibridación).
    Las sospechas de extinción para el futuro no están exentas de necesitar una proyección realista de la situación contextual para ser creíble. Por lo que necesitan aportar un mínimo de trayectoria coherente que en este caso no se vislumbra. En los cotos de caza gestionados de acuerdo con la legalidad, sucede todo lo contrario a esta proyección negativa, porque en ellos se están recuperando las poblaciones de perdiz hasta donde la calidad del hábitat y el control de predadores lo permiten. En Castilla y León, la comunidad más extensa que ocupa el 18.6% de España, desde 1991 se recoge una estadística cinegética fiable (Consultora de Recursos Naturales, 2018, 2014). Los resultados de capturas en perdices por 100 ha demuestran una fluctuación de la población (X=2.72, SD=0.89, N=27) con tendencia estable, por ejemplo en 1992 las capturas fueron 1.58 y en 2017 fueron 1.52, otros estudios robustos en distintas zonas del país muestran la misma tendencia estable (Nadal et al., 2016).
    En contraposición las poblaciones de perdiz si están en declive generalizado en los Espacios Naturales Protegidos por el impacto de la depredación, debido a la abundancia de gato asilvestrado Felis domesticus, rata Rattus norvegicus, zorro Vulpes vulpes y jabalí Sus scrofa. Por ejemplo la Reserva Natural de Mas de Melons, en el Valle del Ebro o el Parque Nacional de Aigues Tortes i l’Estany de Sant Maurici, en el Pirineo (podemos citar muchos más ejemplos y demostrar la evidencia). Con el paso de los años las distintas comunidades autónomas y los técnicos (multidisciplinares) encargados de los Planes de Ordenación Cinegética y Planes Técnicos de Caza Anuales, hacen mejor su trabajo, con la consiguiente sustancial mejora de la gestión cinegética desde 1990 (año en que las comunidades autónomas comienzan a aplicar la Ley de Conservación de la Naturaleza de 1989) (Garrido et al., 2019).
    La existencia de fincas conservadas para mantener la perdiz roja silvestre y la producción de biodiversidad es un importante ejemplo que debe ser protegido, reconocido y subvencionado como modelo de gestión del territorio. Porque estos espacios son reservas naturales que garantizan la conservación de la especie frente a la demanda de producción agrícola intensiva y agresiva con la naturaleza para producir alimentos y materias primas para el hombre (Nadal et al., 2018).

  23. Jesus Nadal y Sebastián Hidalgo says:

    A4abde (reducción con causas no entendidas, observada directamente con un índice de abundancia apropiado, problemática de explotación e hibridación)
    La validez de los resultados demográficos obtenidos a través de los programas SACRE y SACIN de la SEO, es muy discutible dado que el esfuerzo de búsqueda no está estandarizado y se basa en la información aportada por voluntarios de distinto nivel de conocimiento. Realizando búsquedas más numerosas y exhaustivas en zonas concretas de España, como la Comunidad de Madrid, Centro Norte y áreas levantinas (Llorente, 2020).
    Ante la falta de información más amplia y contrastada científicamente, especialmente en áreas agrícolas y cotos de caza, dichos programas son interesantes, solo para tener una idea de la distribución de algunas especies de aves en las zonas cubiertas por los voluntarios y en las estaciones correspondientes. Se afirma que la tendencia de la perdiz es de declive acusado en invierno, lo que demuestra la inoperancia del método por su incapacidad para detectar a la especie y por el menor esfuerzo de búsqueda aplicado durante esta época (Gregory et al., 2004).
    Una reducción poblacional no debería interpretarse como parte de una fluctuación natural a menos que haya evidencia firme para ello. La fase descendente de una fluctuación natural normalmente no se considera como reducción según los criterios de la UICN (Subcomité de Estándares y Peticiones de la UICN, 2017). No existe ninguna evidencia científica que pueda demostrar esta reducción generalizada de la perdiz roja en España en los últimos 10 años. Existen datos que demuestran fluctuaciones importantes y fracasos reproductores debido a las sequías en los cotos de caza. En consecuencia esos años se reduce la presión cinegética y los cupos de capturas (Llorente, 2016). Podemos hablar de declive de la perdiz roja en los terrenos donde no se controla el impacto de la depredación por especies invasoras introducidas como el gato asilvestrado Felis domesticus y la rata Rattus norvegicus, por especies antropófilas como el zorro Vulpes vulpes, el jabalí Sus scrofa, la gineta Genetta genetta, el meloncillo Herpestes ichneumon, la urraca Pica pica, la cigüeña blanca Ciconia ciconia y la garcilla bueyera Bubulcus ibis.
    Las zonas de seguridad constituyen otro ejemplo ilustrativo de la necesidad del cuidado de las poblaciones de perdiz roja para su conservación. En las zonas de seguridad no está permitida la caza. Sin embargo, en muchas de ellas las perdices están en declive o han desaparecido por distintas causas: los accidentes por las infraestructuras, la contaminación o los depredadores. Un ejemplo demostrativo lo constituyen las periferias de las ciudades que contienen zonas de seguridad amplias, donde las perdices están en declive o han desaparecido. Cualquier ciudad española nos sirve de ejemplo demostrativo.

  24. Jesus Nadal y Sebastián Hidalgo says:

    La propuesta de Birdlife pasa de la categoría PREOCUPACIÓN MENOR (LC) a VULNERABLE (VU), saltando la categoría CASI AMENAZADO (NT) “está próximo a satisfacer los criterios, o posiblemente los satisfaga, en un futuro cercano” que sería la correspondiente en secuencia, por lo que se evidencia de nuevo que estos datos de SEO no son fiables ya que no siguen una secuencia lógica de hechos. La conservación debe sostenerse con medidas de protección a la especie y sus hábitats, tal como hace la gestión cinegética.
    En los últimos años la SEO está siguiendo una estrategia radical anticaza que enfrenta a ecologistas con cazadores, que promueve la culpabilidad del contrario. Esto sólo conduce al colapso de la naturaleza, a la contracción de la conservación, a tener una serie en cadena de crisis de la biodiversidad. Nuestra obligación es cooperar y gestionar la naturaleza en su conjunto para frenar la crisis de la biodiversidad.
    ¿Qué se lograría con una mayor cooperación entre ecologistas y cazadores? Probablemente los acuerdos entre ecologistas y cazadores significarían la multiplicación de acciones de conservación. El problema que enfrentamos es amplio y global pero, desafortunadamente, las propuestas son cada vez más estrechas y radicales. Esta propuesta de Birdlife está aislada, no tiene historia, contexto social, económico y cultural. Las causas estructurales de la crisis de la biodiversidad radican en la población humana. Constituye un error de consecuencias negativas crear enemigos donde tiene que haber amigos. ¿Realmente Birdlife es consciente de la magnitud de la tragedia de la crisis de la biodiversidad, de la vida silvestre y del mundo rural? Interrogarnos acerca de cómo nuestro modo de vida repercute en los ecosistemas y buscar soluciones puede unirnos para el bien común.
    La protección basada únicamente en la catalogación en distintos tipos de categorías, no es eficaz para la conservación de las especies que pretende proteger, ya que impide la gestión activa y sostenible de la población sobre el terreno. Para conservar tenemos que eliminar las presiones negativas y restaurar los hábitats. Es imprescindible actuar sobre los factores ecológicos causantes del declive (negativos), suprimirlos o atenuarlos. Y esta gestión solo puede ser aplicada por los propietarios y gestores cinegéticos que tienen capacidad de actuar en el campo. Siempre a cambio de un aprovechamiento racional y sostenible de estos recursos, de cuya conservación son los principales interesados.
    Los que suscribimos este documento, somos científicos de larga trayectoria en esta y otras especies de fauna en distintas partes del territorio nacional. A través de nuestra investigación aplicada, conocemos de primera mano la realidad práctica del campo. Nos preocupa ante todo la conservación eficaz de la fauna silvestre y de la biodiversidad en general. Queremos dejar constancia explícita de que no nos mueven intereses de parte y expresamos honestamente nuestra preocupación por las consecuencias que para la especie pueden acarrear estos cambios.
    Antes de afrontar un cambio en la categoría de conservación, debería estudiarse las repercusiones que, con respecto a la conservación de la especie puede provocar esta medida, especialmente teniendo en cuenta que en esas circunstancias se perdería toda la gestión que se viene desarrollando en los cotos para recuperar y mantener las poblaciones de perdiz roja silvestre. La alarma sobre el estado actual de la naturaleza exige la responsabilidad y el compromiso solidario de todas las personas que aman la naturaleza.

  25. Dear colleagues,

    We reject to reclassify the red-legged partridge from “least concern” to “vulnerable” owing to the following reasons:

    1. The information from Spain used to make this decision is incomplete, as there is no data for important areas where red-legged partridges occur.

    In Spain, partridge data comes from SEO-Birdlife’s “SACRE” monitoring program, which aims to analyze population trends through censuses in the spring (calculations of population size are not conducted). Volunteers conduct census in April-June on 10×10 km UTM grids and the sampling unit is 20 points located on each of these grids.
    For the period 1998-2011, according to data published on the website of the Ministry for Ecological Transition (MITECO), 474 grids out of the total of approximately 6,500 covering Spain were used to determine the trends of partridges. Although it is true that partridges do not occur in all grids (high mountains, northern fringe and some islands), the conclusions were then based on less than 10% of the grids, and partridges were considered under a “moderate decline”. For the 2008-2018 period, we do not have accurate information on the number of grids surveyed, and the latest available conclusions are that partridges are under a “marked decline”.

    Additionally, there are provinces that historically have been the population stronghold of the species, where for the 1998-2011 period had a very small number of grids surveyed. For example, looking at the available map, in the province of Toledo approximately 30 grids were surveyed, 25 in Cádiz, 15 in Badajoz and 8 in Ciudad Real, hence in these provinces a very small number of size was surveyed, equivalent to 1-2% of the total number of grids existing in Spain. We do not know how many grids were surveyed for the period 2008-2018 (see links at the end of the document).
    On the other hand, in the current instructions to participate in the “SACRE” system, it is warned that “it is necessary to avoid tracks of private farms/land which in future may be closed or access will be denied”. Thus, may not cover hunting grounds where partridges are actively managed, areas holding higher densities than unmanaged areas.

    2. The classification to “vulnerable” species will not correct the conservation problems faced by red-legged partridges and other species occurring at similar habitats.

    Thanks to science we know that this situation is mainly explained by the dramatic changes on habitat, the inability to develop sustainable farming practices at a large scale, the difficulties to control predators (almost 60 species predate on partridges) together with incorrect management decisions. In the case of habitat and predators, few regions in Spain have developed legislation that promotes and funds the management of wild populations. On the other hand, in recent years significant efforts have been made to design and apply a genetic certification system for reared partridges, recognized at the Spanish level.

    In the event that the red-legged partridge would be declared “vulnerable”, the first option that the authorities would take would be to ban hunting, and we doubt that conservation plans or measures would be implemented to solve existing problems. This is the case of former game species in Spain, such as the grey partridge (Perdix perdix), and several species of waterfowl, both ducks and waders, that can no longer be hunted in all regions of Spain.

  26. Continuation from previous comment:

    3. The classification to “vulnerable” and the very likely hunting ban would be “the last straw” for hunting grounds all over Spain which keep managing partridges and also other species that are affected by similar problems.

    We cannot ignore the thousands of game managers that in Spain invest time and money in “conservation plans” for partridges that would never come from the administration, adapting harvesting to populations and showing a very clear commitment to partridges and others species. In fact, several studies show that hunting grounds where wild and reared partridges are hunted favour declining non-game species (such as the common bustard Tetrax tetrax or the Great Bustard Otis tarda), through the management tools such as feeders, water trough, habitat improvement and fox control. We also know cases of hunting grounds that have recovered their partridge populations by conducting a complete management package, including shooting restraint for several years (see references).

    In conclusion, we think that reclassifying red-legged partridge from “least concern” to “vulnerable” can have negative effects on the conservation of the species, the opposite effect to what is intended.

    We are struck by the fact that a discussion has not been opened yet with regard to iconic species that occur in farmland and share problems with partridges: we refer to the little bustard (Tetrax tetrax), classified as “nearly threatened” in 2018 and the Pin-tailed sandgrouse (Pterocles alchata), which was “least concern” in 2015. It would be a contradiction if these species had a lower degree of protection than partridges.

    Certainly, the red-legged partridge has suffered a decline in Spain during the last decades, although we know from hunting data that the situation varies among regions and areas.

    It is urgent to increase efforts to gain knowledge on the distribution, abundance and population size of red-legged partridge throughout its distribution area, as well as to urge Administrations to support its recovery through agri-environmental measures in the future Common Agriculture Policy, and policy changes to reduce the previously cited conservation problems.

    Research papers
    Cabodevilla et al. (2020). Are population changes of endangered little bustards associated with releases of red-legged partridges for hunting? A large-scale study from central Spain. European Journal of Wildlife Research, 66(2), 1-10.

    Estrada et al. (2015). Does small‐game management benefit steppe birds of conservation concern? A field study in central S pain. Animal Conservation, 18(6), 567-575.

    Garrido et al. (2012). Especialista en control de predadores. Fedenca-Real Federación Española de Caza. (Specialist on predator removal book)

    Garrido et al. (2020) Las especies cinegéticas españolas en el siglo XXI. (Game species in Spain during the 21st Century).

    Sánchez-García et al. (2017). Does targeted management work for red-legged partridges Alectoris rufa? Twelve years of the ‘Finca de Matallana’ demonstration project. European Journal of Wildlife Research, 63(1), 24.

    Links
    Mapa cuadrículas muestreadas en el sistema SACRE para el período 1998-2011/Map showing the grids where surveys were conducted within the SACRE system for the period 1998-2011.
    https://www.miteco.gob.es/es/biodiversidad/temas/inventarios-nacionales/inventario-especies-terrestres/ieet_aves_sist_seg_tendencia_comunes_esp.aspx

    Informe seguimiento SEO-Birdlife 2018/Monitoring report from SEO-Birdlife
    https://www.seo.org/seguimiento-de-avifauna-resultados/

    Dr. Carlos Sánchez García-Abad (on behalf of the Research Department)
    Director de Investigación/Director of Research
    Fundación Artemisan (Spain)

  27. Traducción al español:
    Estimados colegas,

    Rechazamos que la perdiz roja sea catalogada globalmente como especie vulnerable por los siguientes motivos:

    1. La información que se utiliza para tomar estas decisiones en España es incompleta, dado que no hay datos para importantes áreas geográficas de presencia histórica de la especie.

    En España, los datos para la perdiz proceden del programa de seguimiento “SACRE” de SEO-Birdlife, que tiene como objetivo analizar las tendencias poblacionales mediante censos en primavera (no se realizan cálculos de tamaño poblacional).
    Los voluntarios hacen censos en abril-junio en cuadrículas UTM de 10×10 km y la unidad de muestreo son 20 puntos localizados en cada una de estas cuadrículas.
    Para el período 1998-2011, según datos publicados en la web del Ministerio para la Transición Ecológica, se utilizaron 474 cuadrículas del total de las aproximadamente 6.500 que hay en España para determinar las tendencias de la perdiz. Aunque es cierto que no existen perdices en todas las cuadrículas (alta montaña, franja norte y algunas islas), las conclusiones se basaron en menos del 10% de las cuadrículas, siendo el resultado que la perdiz roja presentaba un “declive moderado”. Para el período 2008-2018, no tenemos información precisa sobre el número de cuadrículas utilizadas, y las últimas conclusiones para el caso de la perdiz roja son que presenta un “declive acusado”.

    Además, hay provincias que históricamente han tenido importantes poblaciones de perdiz que para el período 1998-2011 contaban con muy pocas cuadrículas muestreadas. Por poner algunos ejemplos y de forma aproximada según el mapa disponible, en Toledo fueron 30, 25 en Cádiz, 15 en Badajoz y 8 en Ciudad Real, cubriendo por tanto un territorio muy reducido, alrededor de un 1-2% del total de cuadrículas existentes en España. Desconocemos cuántas cuadrículas se hicieron para el período 2008-2018 (ver enlaces al final del documento). Por otra parte, en las instrucciones para participar en la actualidad se advierte que “hay que evitar pistas de fincas privadas que en un futuro se puedan cerrar o por las que te puedan negar el paso”, lo cual estaría dejando fuera de los censos a fincas y cotos en los que existen poblaciones gestionadas y que tienen mayores densidades que áreas sin gestionar.

    2. La declaración de vulnerable no corregirá los problemas de conservación a los que se enfrenta la perdiz roja y otras especies con las que comparte hábitat.

    Gracias a la ciencia sabemos que esta situación se explica principalmente por los cambios drásticos producidos en nuestro campo, la imposibilidad de desarrollar prácticas agrarias respetuosas con la perdiz a gran escala, la dificultad de controlar especies depredadoras (casi 60 depredan sobre la perdiz) junto con incorrectas decisiones de gestión en algunos cotos. En el caso del hábitat y los predadores, pocas regiones en España cuentan con una legislación que promueva y dote de fondos a la gestión de poblaciones silvestres. Por otro lado, durante los últimos años se han realizado esfuerzos importantes para desarrollar y aplicar un sistema de certificación de pureza genética para las perdices de granja, reconocido a nivel estatal.

    En el caso de que la perdiz se declarara como “vulnerable”, la primera opción que las autoridades tomarían sería prohibir su caza y dudamos que se aplicaran planes de conservación o medidas para solucionar la problemática existente. Así ha sucedido con especies antaño cinegéticas en España como la perdiz pardilla (Perdix perdix), y varias especies de aves acuáticas, tanto anátidas como limícolas, que ya no pueden cazarse en todo el territorio español.

  28. Continuación del comentario anterior:

    3. La declaración de vulnerable y la más que posible veda de la especie serían “la puntilla” para aquellos cotos que en toda España siguen gestionando las poblaciones de perdices y otras especies que se ven afectadas por problemática similar.

    No podemos obviar los miles de cotos y gestores que en España invierten tiempo y dinero en “planes de conservación” que nunca llegarían de la mano de la administración, regulando las capturas en función de las poblaciones y mostrando un compromiso muy claro con las perdices y con otras especies con las que comparte hábitat.

    De hecho, varios estudios evidencian que tanto cotos de perdiz silvestre como en los que se realizan sueltas, favorecen a especies no cinegéticas en declive (como el sisón común Tetrax tetrax o la Avutarda Otis tarda) por herramientas de gestión como comederos, bebederos, mejoras del hábitat y el control de zorros. También conocemos casos de cotos que han conseguido recuperar sus poblaciones realizando un paquete de medidas de gestión, incluyendo limitaciones importantes en la caza (ver referencias).

    Como conclusión, pensamos que catalogar la perdiz roja como vulnerable puede tener efectos negativos sobre la conservación de la especie, es decir, podría tener un efecto contrario al que se pretende.

    Nos llama la atención que no se haya una abierto una discusión para declarar también como vulnerables a especies emblemáticas muy ligadas a medios agrícolas y que comparten problemáticas con la perdiz roja: nos referimos al sisón común (Tetrax tetrax), catalogado como “casi amenazado” en 2018 y la ganga ibérica (Pterocles alchata), de “preocupación menor” en 2015. Sería un contrasentido que estas especies tuvieran un grado de protección menor al de la perdiz.

    Ciertamente, la perdiz roja ha sufrido una regresión en España durante las últimas décadas, si bien conocemos por los datos de caza que la situación varía en función de cada territorio.

    Es urgente incrementar los esfuerzos para conocer la distribución, abundancia y tamaño poblacional de perdiz roja en toda su área de distribución, así como instar a las Administraciones que apoyen su recuperación a través de medidas agroambientales en la futura PAC, y mediante el desarrollo de la normativa para reducir los problemas anteriormente citados.

    Referencias y links citados en la versión en inglés

    Dr. Carlos Sánchez García-Abad (en representación del Departamento de Investigación/on behalf of the Research Department)
    Director de Investigación/Director of Research
    Fundación Artemisan (Spain)

  29. Fernando Granado Font says:

    Estoy totalmente en contra.
    Los censos me parecen incompletos. Se debería potenciar la gestión y manejo de hábitat para que las poblaciones aumenten.
    Su prohibición aceleraría el proceso de destrucción de biodiversidad al no haber un gran impulso económico detrás. Un ejemplo es el urogallo.
    Es la experiencia de estar trabajando todos los días de estos últimos 15 años para y por la perdiz. Y ver cómo aumentan las poblaciones y ejerciendo su justa presión cinegética.

  30. Gabriel Ortiz says:

    Hola a todos. Soy directivo y e sido presidente de La Asociacion de Cazadores de Buñol. Amante de la perdiz roja, tengo que decir que estamos total mente en contra de que se considere especie vulnerable. Llevamos gestionando nuestro coto durante años y esta gestión se a basado en limpiezas de monte, siembras de trigo y cereal donde ya hacía años que no entraba un tractor, balsas y bebederos de agua por todo el coto, control de predadores y una presión de caza baja. Aquí en la zona de Levante de España disfrutamos de una buena densidad de perdiz roja(A.Rufa), y creo que es por la buena gestión de las asociaciones de caza. También hay que decir que en estas zonas no hay agricultura intensiva, lo cual coincide con que al no haber esta práctica, esta especie no sufre con los tratamientos de venenos, abonos y cosechas tempranas como en otras zonas donde si que se realizan estas prácticas y las poblaciones de perdiz se pueden ver perjudicadas. Este estudio de Birdlife, creo que ni es correcto ni está completo. Deberían de hacerlo más intenso y valorar el preguntar a asociaciones de cazadores, administraciones competentes donde les podrían facilitar muchos datos de esta especie.

  31. Red List Team (BirdLife International) says:

    Many thanks to everyone who has contributed to this discussion over the past 10 days. We realise that the window for consultation was short (and is now closed), and greatly appreciate the time and effort invested by so many people in commenting, especially during this unprecedented time globally. The volume and variety of responses received on this (and other) species means that it will take us several more days to digest, analyse and interpret everything. We will however do so as quickly as possible, posting our considered conclusions on this species’s status on this page in a final contribution by mid-April.

    Thank you once again, and Happy Easter.

    BirdLife Red List Team

  32. Red List Team (BirdLife International) says:

    Following careful review and consideration of the existing available information, as well as the new information and valuable views shared through the consultation above, we have now reached a decision on the status of this species for both the 2020 global Red List and the EU Red List of birds. Our conclusion is that this species should be classified as Near Threatened (A2bcde+3bcde+4bcde) – representing a reclassification from its current status of Least Concern, but not to the level of Vulnerable as originally proposed.

    This decision takes into account evidence for an overall population decline at a rate approaching 30% in 10 years, based on trends from generic common bird monitoring schemes (such as SACRE in Spain) and data reported by EU Member States under Article 12 of the Birds Directive (including recent hunting bags in Spain and Portugal). It acknowledges that some areas of suitable habitat holding significant and potentially more stable populations may be inaccessible to volunteer bird surveyors, while still placing value on a national trend derived from standardised counts at more than 1,200 sample points across Spain. It also reflects the ongoing threats to the species from intensive agriculture, insecticides, hybridisation and other factors, as reported by multiple respondents.

    Acknowledging significant differences of opinion and divergent population trend estimates in Spain, we encourage relevant parties there to collaborate more closely on this species’s conservation, management and monitoring, with the aim of reaching broad consensus on a national population estimate and trend in time for the next round of Article 12 reporting in 2025. This might include the mobilisation and publication of population data from areas inaccessible to SACRE surveyors, as well as more information about hunting bag trends, and the number and genetic purity of birds released each year (noting that birds released for hunting do not count towards Red List assessments). More such transparency would not only help to demonstrate the sustainability of hunting, but also increase the amount of reliable information available on this species, and thereby help to inform its conservation and management, as well as future status assessments.

    Many thanks once again to everyone who contributed to the discussion above and helped to inform this outcome. The 2020 Red List update for birds including this assessment will be published on the BirdLife and IUCN websites in December.

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