of the Azov-Black Sea Ornithological Station
Branta Cover Language of the article: Russian Cite: Kostin Yu, S. . (2006). General aspects of Crimean avifauna. Communication 1. Experience of revision of avifaunal lists.. Branta: Transactions of the Azov-Black Sea Ornithological Station, 9, 19-48 Views: 224 Branta copyright Branta license

Branta Issues > Issue №9 (2006)

Branta: Transactions of the Azov-Black Sea Ornithological Station, 19-48

General aspects of Crimean avifauna. Communication 1. Experience of revision of avifaunal lists.

Kostin S.Yu.

Studying the Crimean birds for over 200 years different researchers have compiled a number of regional avifauna lists. Among them there are works of A.M.Nikolsky ( 1891/1892), I.I.Puzanow (1933), Yu. V. Kostin (1983). All of them reflect certain stages in studying birds of the peninsula, and formal indices in the lists are similar. However, because of different methodic approach, coverage of the area and intensity of study these lists are almost incomparable without a special analysis, and formal statistic indices do not show the real state of the problem. So, both composition of the peninsula avifauna and type of species stay in the course of time should be critically revised and it is an actual question in the present regional faunal study.

This publication is aimed at the critical revision of the faunal lists and selection of criteria to unify those, compiled in different periods of study. This communication is an attempt to revise summarized lists, which vary in time, and to compile a list of recent avifauna of the peninsula. Further these lists can be used to analyze dynamics of both avifauna composition and ornithocomplexes for last 200 years.

Material and methods

The fact of varying volume of avifauna lists compiled by different authors is mostly explained by distinct interpretation of faunal records.

Wide use of new methods and techniques in ornithology (catching, photographing) allow to include new species in regional faunal lists without collecting birds. We consider the presence of a collection specimen as a principal criterion for the species selection when lists of regional fauna are compiling. However in this context a special value is given to the presence of its number in a species list as a reliable fact of its presence in the region.

To obtain comparable faunal lists we included taxa in the summarized table according to the volume and nomenclature of L.S.Stepanyan (1990). This paper presents avifauna on a species level, because a fact of staying of some subspecies populations needs to be further investigated.

The annotated list is based on monographs by A .N .Nikolsky (1891/1892), 1.1.Puzanow (1933), Yu. V.Kostin (1969, 1983). To compile the list of recent regional avifauna we used all available literary sources, including archive material of Yu.V.Averin, F.A.Kiselyov, M.A.Voinstvensky, Yu.V. Kostin, as well as data of own investigations

over the period 1976-2005.


Results and discussion

Over all the period of studying the Crimean birds from 1736 to 2005 in specialized literature there are mentioned 362 bird species in the region.

Of them there is a group of birds found only as fossil species: Northern Gannei (Sula bassana), Willow Grouse (Lagopus lagopus), Rock Ptarrmgan (Lagopus mutus), Black Grouse (Lyrurus tetrix), Red-billed Chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Alpine Chough ( Pyrrhocorax graculus), Rock Sparrow (Petronia petronia), Snow Finch (Montifringilla nivalis) (Voinstvensky, 1965, 1967; Burchank-Obramovich, 1977).

Chukar (Alectoris chukar) and Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) are also a part of the current aviafauna of the peninsula, but as introduced species they are not included in avifauna lists when studying faunagenesis of the territory.

The given list of birds consists of 49 species according to the criterion of absenting collection specimens, and is divided into groups according to reliability of their dwelling in the Crimea: 33 species are mentioned in the specialized literature or included in lists by visual identification; 11 species were captured in the Crimea, but collection specimens did not remain; 5 species were caught by mist nets for ringing and alive investigation.



A numbered bird list in the monograph by A.M.Nikolsky (1891/1892) consists of 299 taxa, including 23 species, in the presence of which the authour was not sure and often mentioned them based on other authors but without collection specimens,and 5 subspecies (Starling, Great Grey Shrike,etc.). There fore, avifauna of reliably recorded bird species of the Crimea in the end of 19th century did not contain 299, but 270 species.

On a species level "Ukazatel' krymskih vidov ptits" (Reference Book of the Crimean Birds) by 1.1. Puzanow (1933) the list contains 306 taxa.

Of them 5 species are in brackets, meaning by the author that their presence is not reliable. The sense of the word 'er is not quite clear, because it could be both 'error or 'errant', i.e. vagrant species, looking for food.

A group of species in the "Ukazatel'' with such characteristics includes 24 taxa. So, the list of "reliably observed" birds of the Crimea can include from 277 to 301 species.

For comparative analysis and determination of dynamics of species composition the following lists can be used: A.M.Nikolsky (1891/1892), including 270 species (not 299 taxons), dissertation of Yu. V. Kostin (1969) with 280 (not 286) species and his monograph (Kostin, 1983) with 295 (not 301) species, and also the list compiled by us, that includes

302 species (304 with acclimatized species). There are another 6 species, which are the ?nost disputable, but should be included in composition of the present avifauna in the first place: Greater Sand Plover, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Pallas's Sandgrouse, Tengmalm's Owl, Wall-creeper, Little Bunting; and also a group of 5 species captured by mist nets: Grasshopper Warbler, Blyth's Reed Warbler, Booted Warbler, Sardinian Warbler and Orphean Warbler. The obtaining of collection specimens of these species is just a question of time and when they be get the avifauna of the peninsula will include 313-315 bird species.

Further development of the question of the present state of the Crimean avifauna needs critical analysis of a type of the species stay and of changes in their status in the course of time in connection with anthropogenic transformation of landscapes of the peninsula. By the way, eco-coenotical and geo-genetical analysis of recent avifauna of the region is also actual.

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