Situation in Spain

Q

The aquatic warbler does not breed in Spain

This bird species regularly crosses the Iberian Peninsula on its prenuptial and postnuptial migration, between its winter quarters in Africa and its nesting grounds.

Carlos Zumalacárregui

Manjavacas lagoon. Picture JCCM.

The aquatic warbler does not breed in Spain, where no breeding records are available for this species.

This bird species regularly crosses the Iberian Peninsula on its prenuptial and postnuptial migration between its winter quarters in Africa and its nesting grounds. Despite having been considered a scarce migrant, the notable increase in registered sightings over recent years seems to indicate that its presence on Spanish soil has been largely unnoticed.

Two major migratory fronts have been described for this species within the Iberian Peninsula, one following the Atlantic coastline and another along the Mediterranean coast. A third front would appear to unite these routes in the Ebro valley. However, new evidence of significant routes of passage across the interior of the peninsula would point to migration on a greater scale.

Among the major resting and feeding points on their migratory path across Spain, the most significant is the Laguna de La Nava, in Palencia, with more than half of the sightings registered in Spain.

As with the known migratory pattern in central and western Europe, the spring passage takes place further to the west than in autumn, constrained mainly to the month of April. The postnuptial journey is more widely spread out over the period from July to October, peaking in August.

The most likely hazards facing these passerines during migration may include the following: wetland destruction or alteration, habitat changes and intensification of agricultural uses.

In Spain the aquatic warbler is strictly protected. It is included in the List of Wild Species Subject to Special Protection (Royal Decree 139/2011, of 4 February), and classified as Vulnerable in the latest Red Paper on Birdlife in Spain, in accordance with International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) criteria. Most of the stopover spaces used by the aquatic warbler on its migrations across the Iberian Peninsula are protected, whether listed in the RAMSAR Catalogue of Wetlands or included in the NATURA 2000 network (ZEPA – Special Protection areas for Birds and ZEC – Special Conservation Zones). The conservation measures proposed in the latest Red Paper are the identification of the areas used on migratory journeys, conducting monitoring projects, studies of requirements and habitat use, protection of spaces used by the species, drafting of habitat management plans and awareness-raising and environmental education campaigns.

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