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Individual study: Effects of livestock on nesting success of lapwing Vanellus vanellus on coastal grazing marsh at Elmley Marshes, Kent, England

Published source details

Hart J.D., Milsom T.P., Baxter A., Kelly P.F. & Parkin W.K. (2002) The impact of livestock on lapwing Vanellus vanellus breeding densities and performance on coastal grazing marsh. Bird Study, 49, 67-78

This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Employ grazing in non-grassland habitats Bird Conservation

A replicated, controlled trial in spring and summer 1997 in Kent, England (Hart et al. 2002), found that northern lapwings Vanellus vanellus had smaller clutches, lower nest survival and higher nest loss to predation on four coastal marshes with low-intensity (0.2-0.5 livestock units/ha) grazing, compared to four areas without grazing (higher proportion of four egg clutches on ungrazed marshes; 34% survival and 58% predation for 36 nests on grazed marshes vs. 64% survival and 36% predation for 50 nests on ungrazed sites). Three of the 15 unpredated nests on the grazed marshes were also trampled by livestock. Livestock presence was also found to have a weak impact on the density of lapwing nesters in 1995 and 1997, but not 1996.


Employ areas of semi-natural habitat for rough grazing (includes salt marsh, lowland heath, bog, fen) Farmland Conservation

A study of northern lapwing Vanellus vanellus nests on 12 grazed and six ungrazed marshes within an Environmentally Sensitive Area over one year in England (Hart et al. 2002) found that ungrazed marshes had greater clutch size and nest survival than those that were grazed. Clutch size was larger on ungrazed than grazed marshes and nest survival was significantly higher for four-egg clutches (57%) than three-egg clutches (21%). Overall, nest survival was 64% on ungrazed marshes compared with 34% on grazed marshes. On grazed marshes 58% of nests were lost to predation compared with 36% on ungrazed marshes, and 20% of unpredated nests were trampled by livestock. Incubating birds also left their eggs significantly more frequently on grazed compared to ungrazed marshes, because of disturbance. All marshes had been grazed the previous year. Sheep or cattle were introduced to 12 marshes at low stocking densities (i.e. 0.20-0.51 livestock units/ha). Lapwing nest data were collected between April and June 1997.