Gray teal reproduction declines due to drought in wetlands

Madrid, Jan 25 (EFE).- The restoration of wetlands is facilitating the recovery of the gray teal population, which, however, due to the drought in the breeding areas, especially in the south of the peninsula, has been reduced by 40% in 2023 compared to the previous season.

According to data from the species working group provided this Thursday by the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge (Miteco), in 2023 only 480 chickens were registered, approximately a third less than in 2022, the year in which they were registered. They counted 740, which means the brakes on the upward trend of the last ten years in this species of birdlife.

The Ministry highlights the importance of the restoration of wetlands (whose Day is celebrated on February 2) for the reproduction of the species, an initiative in which public administrations, the scientific community, conservation organizations and civil society participate. .

The data were presented at the last meeting of the gray teal (Marmaronetta angustirostris) working group held on December 14 at the Zoobotánico of Jerez de la Frontera (Cádiz), where it was also known that the number of chicks (females sighted in the company of chicks) also decreased, from 115 in 2022 to 75 a year later.

Among the regions, Andalusia is the one that registered the highest number of chickens, with 192 specimens, and the Guadalquivir marshes are the wetland that continues to host the majority of the breeding population of the species in this region, with 76% of the pairs, although the species reproduced in twelve of its wetlands.

Two wetlands in the Doñana area stand out, in addition to the Henares Marismas (Cádiz) and the Brazo del Este (Seville), and, for the first time, according to the Ministry, reproduction occurred in the Guadalhorce Mouth Natural Area ( Málaga), and in this same province a small nucleus is established in Fuente e Piedra.

It is followed by the Valencian Community, with 173 chickens registered in five different locations where the species was reproduced, such as: the El Hondo Natural Park (Alicante), the Clot de Galvany Municipal Natural Park (Elche), the Marjal de Almenara (Castellón ) and the Albufera Natural Park of Valencia.

In that autonomous community, thanks to the improvements made in the El Espigar wetland, in the El Hondo Natural Park, acquired by the ANSE and SEO/BirdLife associations within the framework of the LIFE Cerceta Pardilla project, a milestone was achieved in the reproduction of the species having been recorded for the first time in many years, with at least five different females sighted accompanied by 36 chicks.

Unlike the two previous regions, in the Balearic Islands, historical reproduction maximums were recorded in 2023, with a total of 14 chicks and 115 chicks in the wetlands around S’Albufera de Mallorca, according to a press release from Miteco.

In Castilla-La Mancha, only one female with chicks was recorded in the Tablas de Daimiel National Park, in addition to three other chicks in captive breeding facilities.

In the Community of Madrid, a clutch was also found in a nest box installed in the El Porcal lagoons, but the eggs did not hatch.

The Ministry emphasizes that captive breeding also allowed the release in 2023 of a total of 579 specimens in Andalusia, the Valencian Community, Castilla-La Mancha and the Community of Madrid, with the aim of reinforcing wild populations.

In addition, the marking of 218 specimens since 2018, when the critical situation of the species was declared, has made it possible to identify the main causes of mortality and find solutions to reduce threats, according to the Ministry. EFE


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