Nest success of lapwings Vanellus vanellus on organic and conventional arable farms in the Netherlands

  • Published source details Kragten S. & de Snoo G.R (2007) Nest success of lapwings Vanellus vanellus on organic and conventional arable farms in the Netherlands. Ibis, 149, 742-749.


Although organically managed farms can support higher densities of certain farmland birds than conventional farms, differences in crop management may also have an impact on breeding success. This study compared the breeding density and nesting success of lapwings Vanellus vanellus on organic and conventional arable farms in Oostelijk Flevoland and Noordoostpolder (approx. 52°36'N, 05°39'E), in the central Netherlands.

Forty farms were selected in a pair-wise fashion, such that each pair consisted of an organic and a conventional farm with similar soil type and surrounding landscape features. Crop management on organic farms involved mechanical weeding methods such as harrowing and hoeing, whereas conventional farms were managed using artificial pesticides and fertilizers.

Lapwing nest surveys were carried out in 2005 and 2006, with both farms in a pair visited on the same day. Any nests located were visited once a week to monitor nest success and determine causes of nest failure.

In 2005, the proportion of nests on organic farms that were successful was 54% (47 of 87 nests), compared with 67% (32 of 48 nests) on conventional farms; there was a near-significant trend for lower daily nest survival rates on the former (c.0.96 versus c.0.975). In 2006, proportions of successful nests (39% and 45%) and average daily survival rates (c.0.955-0.960) were similar on both types of farm.

The proportion of nests failing as a consequence of farming activities in 2005 was markedly higher on organic farms (c.30%) than on conventional farms (12.5%); in 2006, differences were less pronounced, with c.38% of nests on organic farms and c.28% of nests on conventional farms lost to farming activities.

Overall productivity, taking into account nest survival rates and nest densities (which were almost twice as high on organic as on conventional farms), was estimated as 3.3 ± 1.0 and 2.8 ± 0.8 successful nests per 100 ha on organic and conventional farms respectively in 2005, and 2.6 ± 0.8 and 1.7 ± 0.5 nests per 100 ha in 2006.

Note: If using or referring to this published study, please read and quote the original paper, the abstract of which can be viewed at

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