18 Apr 2013
Habitat preferences of the Cyprus Scops Owl (Otus scops cyprius)

BRANTA — Christina Ieronymidou (MSc)

Habitat preferences of the Cyprus Scops Owl Otus scops cyprius

Institution: Royal Veterinary College, University of London, United Kingdom & Institute of Zoology, UK
Supervisors: Tony Sainsbury, Martin Hellicar, Paul M. Dolman
Details: MSc 2008 (Completed)
Address: BirdLife International, Wellbrook Court, Girton Road, Cambridge, CB3 0NA, UK (Apr 2013) Email
Subject Keywords: Land-use change, Habitat selection, Vegetation structural diversity, Agriculture, Forest, Mediterranean
Species Keywords: Cyprus Scops Owl Otus scops cyprius



The subspecies of Common Scops Owl that is endemic to Cyprus (Otus scops cyprius) is one example of the many farmland birds threatened by the changes taking place in agricultural management practices. Very little information is known about the Cyprus Scops Owl. Its habitat preferences were investigated in order to determine the potential impacts of land use change on this subspecies. Sites occupied by Cyprus Scops Owls were significantly more structurally diverse in terms of vegetation type. Potentially unsuitable agricultural sites had significantly lower structural diversity than potentially suitable agriculture, scrub and forest habitats, and no owls were found in these sites. This supports the theory that habitat heterogeneity is a key factor in the maintenance of biodiversity on farmland. Significantly more owls were found in forest than in the other habitat types, a result not expected for a farmland species. More information about Cyprus Scops Owl ecology is necessary.

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