Grote trap en kraanvogel als historische broedvogel in Nederland | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 4, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2468-2187
  • E-ISSN: 2468-2195


Great bustard Otis tarda and common crane Grus grus as historic breeding bird in The Netherlands

For extinct breeding birds it is often difficult to establish when and why they got extinct. This can be done by comparing the pattern of extinction for different bird species. In this article great bustard and common crane are compared. They became extinct as a breeding bird in the same period and both stayed irregular dwellers in the centuries afterwards. For common crane archeozoological findings suggest they were widespread and common in the Netherlands until 1000 AD. Written sources on hunting from the 14th till 19th century show they were present in different parts of the country. But they were not common anymore. Several of these sources involve breeding birds. In western and southern parts of the Netherlands they became extinct as breeding birds from the 14th till the beginning of the 17th century. In eastern and northern parts they could survive longer as breeding birds. Possibly, in the province of Drenthe this was until the beginning of the 18th century. For great bustard archeozoological findings suggest they were scarce or absent until 1000 AD. Written sources on hunting from the 16th century on show they were present in the western part of the country. Some of these sources describe their status as breeding bird. The sources suggest they became extinct as breeding bird around 1600. Changing landscapes are for both species the main driver of their extinction. Their breeding habitats disappeared by reclamation, intensification of land use and a growing human population. One of the underlying factors was the economic upheaval of the Golden Age (1588-1702). The prosperity made big investments for reclamation possible. Both species were hunting bird and were protected by hunting laws. During the Dutch revolt (1568-1648) these laws could not always be enforced. Lack of protection could be an additional factor in their extinction. The presence of great bustard shows a relation to the Medieval Warm Period. The successive Little Ice Age, starting in the 16th century, may have been a factor in their disappearance.


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