Branta: Transactions of the Azov-Black Sea Ornithological Station, 22-38
The avifauna of isolated planted forests in the steppe zone of the Crimean Peninsula and its historical changes
A. N. Tsvelykh
Keywords: avifauna, planted forest, steppe zone, occupation, 19th-21st centuries, Crimea
The avifauna of fifteen isolated planted forests in the steppe zone of the Crimea was studied in 2004-2011. Fauna of these forests includes 46 bird species. Two species, namely Fringilla coelebs and Parus major, are recorded in all plantations. Oriolus oriolus occurs almost everywhere (occurrence – 93.3%). Other species such as Carduelis carduelis (73.3%), Chloris chloris (66.7%), Columba palumbus, Streptopelia decaocto, Dendrocopos syriacus, Corvus cornix, Passer domesticus (60%), Streptopelia turtur, Sylvia atricapilla, Luscinia megarhynchos (53.3%), Sturnus vulgaris, Sylvia communis, Pica pica, Passer montanus (46.7%), Cuculus canorus (40%), Lanius collurio, Lanius minor, Phoenicurus phoenicurus (36%), Falco vespertinus, Falco tinnuculus, Phasianus colchicus (33.3%), Asio otus (29%), Buteo buteo, Upupa epops, Turdus merula, Coccothraustes coccothraustes, Motacilla alba (20%), Perdix perdix, Caprimulgus europaeus, Hippolais icterina, Luscinia luscinia, Parus caeruleus, Acanthis cannabina, Emberiza hortulana (13.3%), Pernis apivorus, Otus scops, Anthus trivialis, Corvus frugilegus, Corvus corax, Phylloscopus sibilatrix, Aegithalos caudatus, Parus ater, Emberiza calandra (6.7%) are less common.
The main source of avifauna of the steppe planted forests is the forest fauna of the Crimean Mountains. However, some elements of the fauna such as Luscinia luscinia, Hippolais icterina, Dendrocopos syriacus, Streptopelia decaocto appeared in these plantations as a result of dispersal from outside the Crimean peninsula. The analysis of «rain-calls» of Fringilla coelebs, dwelling in the areas, has shown that most of them are inhabited by birds of the Crimean Mountain endemic subspecies F. c. solomkoi. However, the plantations in the northern and north-western parts of the peninsula are inhabited by birds of the nominative subspecies, proving their appearance from the north. Thus, some planted forests of the steppe zone of the Crimea are inhabited by the birds which originate not only from the forests of the Crimean Mountains, but also from outside the peninsula.
Comparison of avifauna of the planted forests studied in the 19th-21st centuries has shown that in the 19th century their avifauna was formed at the expense of bird invasions from the steppe and intrazonal habitats as well as from the forests of Crimean Mountains. In the 20th century the fauna of planted forests was enriched mainly due to invasions of dendrophilous bird species of the forest areas of the Crimean Mountains. Some species (Parus major, Sylvia atricapilla, Fringilla coelebs) were present in the fauna of the planted forests in the early 20th century, but most of other new species (Luscinia megarhynchos, Chloris chloris, Acanthis cannabina, Parus caeruleus, Caprimulgus europaeus, Cuculus canorus) appeared only in the middle of the century. Since the second half of the 20th century, the fauna of the Crimean steppe planted forests has been enriching at the expence of local Crimean species (Coccothraustes coccothraustes, Asio otus, Columba palumbus, Buteo buteo), invasive (Streptopelia decaocto, Dendrocopos syriacus) and the northern forest-steppe (Luscinia luscinia, Hippolais icterina) ones.
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