Evaluation of Red Grouse (Lagopus lagopus scoticus) habitat in the Connemara National Park
22T13:29:33Z July 2013
The Red Grouse is a red-listed species and as such is of conservation concern in Ireland. These species are typically breeding birds which have been in rapid decline over the last 25 years or whose populations have been severely reduced over the last 100 years (Newton et al. 1999). This study investigated the habitats that were utilised by grouse in the Connemara National Park from mid June to August 2005. Three sites were surveyed within the Park, each covering an area of 250m x 250m. Two of these sites contained evidence of grouse utilising the area (such as feathers and droppings) and a control site containing no evidence of utilisation by grouse. Each of the sites was surveyed for heather percentage cover, maximum heather height and growth form as well as its invertebrate fauna. Grouse diet was also studied by analysis of droppings. The percentage cover of heather and the maximum heather height on the sites with grouse was found to be higher than that of the control site. The total numerical abundances of ground beetles (Order Coleoptera, Family Carabidae), per site were not significantly different but differences were apparent among other invertebrate groups between the control and the sites with grouse. Analysis of the droppings showed that their diet consisted mostly of Ling Heather which made up 84% of all fragments in the droppings. Bell Heather and Cross-leaved Heath were the next most abundant items with 4.4% and 2.2% respectively. Material other than heather constituted 1.4% of the diet with the remaining 8.2% of the fragments remaining unidentified.
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Not peer reviewed
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