Shrub-dwelling species are joining the Arctic passerine bird community in the Chaun Delta (Western Chukotka, Russia)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Avian communities play a pivotal role in Arctic ecosystems and birds have become the key model taxa for climate change research. Due to funding priorities, Arctic passerines have been studied less intensively than waterfowl and shorebirds. In our study, we aim to partly fill this gap and look at the change in passerine community species composition in the Chaun River Delta in Northeast Siberia (68.81° N, 170.62° E) between 1970–1980 and 2002–2019. We restricted our comparison to 16 tundra-dwelling species associated with grass and shrub tundra habitats. During the first period, 12 passerine species were reported and by the end of the last period, 14 species. Our observations show that four species of shrub-dwelling passerines, the Dusky Warbler (Phylloscopus fuscatus), two species of Turdus thrushes, and the Siberian Rubythroat (Calliope calliope), have joined the local community. Additionally, one Turdus thrush species increased in numbers. The only passerine species that used to be common in the 70’s and rare in the 2000s is the Lapland Bunting (Calcarius lapponicus). Yellow-breasted Bunting (Emberiza aureola, vagrant in 70’s) and Siberian Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus tristis, rare breeder in 70’s) have not been recorded during the most recent period. At the same time, there was no observed change in abundance for eight species of songbirds. The results of supervised satellite image classification did not detect any local-scale increase of shrub cover in our study site. However, a broad-scale assessment of vegetation change using NDVI suggests substantial greening or ‘shrubification’ across the region. We speculate that it promotes region-wide increases and range expansion of some shrub-dwelling species, recorded in our study.

Details

Authors
  • Pavel Ktitorov
  • Stepan Ivanov
  • Evgenia Kornilova
  • Olga Kulikova
  • Harald Ris
  • Kristaps Sokolovskis
  • Diana Solovyeva
Organisations
External organisations
  • Institute of Biological Problems of the North, Far Eastern Branch Of The Russian Academy Of Sciences
  • University of Konstanz
  • Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia
  • No affiliation available (private)
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Ecology

Keywords

  • Climate change, Community dynamic, Shrubification, Tundra
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1847-1857
Number of pages11
JournalPolar Biology
Volume44
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Sep 1
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes