Quail voted Bird of the Year 2020

in News · 31-01-2020 01:00:00 · 1 Comments

The Quail has been chosen as Bird of the Year 2020, in a vote that for the first time was jointly organised by the Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds (SPEA) and the Spanish Ornithological Society (SEO / BirdLife).

A statement from SPEA warned that although in Portugal it is still a common bird, the quail may soon cease to be so, unless measures are implemented to stop the disappearance of the natural diversity of fields. Without a sustainable agricultural policy, the quail is expected to follow the path of other birds in agricultural areas: with a marked decline.
The distribution area of the Quail has decreased by 30 percent in the last decade in Portugal, as a result of changes in agricultural practices. The expansion of monocultures, the disappearance of fallows, and the elimination of hedges and margins of fields leave less and less available habitat for this and other birds typical of agricultural areas. This bird feeds on seeds, cereal grains and small invertebrates, so it has also suffered from the increased use of herbicides and insecticides.
“The Iberian Quail population is the most important in Western Europe. But if nothing is done to value extensive rain-fed agriculture, it will follow the path of other endangered species such as the Bustard and the Montagu’s Harrier”, says Domingos Leitão, SPEA Executive Director.

In Spain the species is already in decline: the number of Quails has decreased by 70 percent in the last 20 years. In Portugal, there are no more than 100,000 individuals of this species. The impact of intensive agriculture is compounded by hunting pressure, genetic contamination (with the introduction of the Japanese Quail or hybrids for hunting purposes) and climate change.
The poll for Bird of the Year 2020 took place online this month, promoted by SPEA and SEO / BirdLife. The Common Quail was elected with 7,930 votes, ahead of the Hunter-Harrier (or hunting eagle), which had 6,130 votes and the King Shrike (5,156 votes).
“Agricultural policy must compensate those who practice responsible and sustainable agriculture, contributing to the preservation of natural values. Otherwise, in a few years it may be difficult to see quails in our fields, not because they are masters of camouflage, but because they are disappearing”, says Domingos Leitão.


STOP SHOOTING THEM. That would be a great help. They should be put onto a protected species list of birds that cannot be hunted.

By Felip from Alentejo on 01-02-2020 10:03
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