Markus Schneider

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Habitatnutzung des Braunkehlchens (Saxicola rubetra) im Europaschutzgebiet Waasen-Hanság, Burgenland.

"The Natura 2000 Reserve Waasen-Hansàg" in northern Burgenland, located near the Hungarian border, is one of the last refuges of the Whinchat in the eastern Austrian lowlands. A survey conducted in 2012 examined the habitat use of the Whinchat in the area. The Hansàg, which represented a part of Lake Neusiedl in the past, is now dominated by a 140 hectare fen area (conservation zone of the National Park Neusiedlersee-Seewinkel), a 1000 hectare meadow complex and non-contiguous 240 hectares of pastures. The average grazing area was much higher in 100x100 meter grids occupied Whinchat grids than in randomly selected grids without Whinchats. Also a generalized linear model evaluating effects of different hay meadow types, pastures and the edge line length between different habitat types on the occurrence of Whinchat in the 1 ha grids showed the strongest positive effect on the surface pastures. Considering data collected in the years 2009 and 2010, also occupancy of grids increased significantly with increasing grazing area. In contradiction to other studies the Whinchat at Hansàg more frequently colonized pastures than hay meadows is , which still requires more detailed studies. Other studies reported that an adequate food supply and the presence of perches is crucial for the occurrence of the Whinchat. High losses of clutches and fledglings due to mowing of meadows too early in the breeding season could result in a continuous population decline over the years.