Local colonisations and extinctions of European birds are poorly explained by changes in climate suitability

Brambling, John Harding / BTO

Author(s): Howard, C., Marjakangas, E.-M., Morán-Ordóñez, A., Milanesi, P., Abuladze, A., Aghababyan, K., Ajder, V., Arkumarev, V., Balmer, D.E., Bauer, H.-G., Beale, C.M., Bino, T., Ali Boyla, K., Burfield, I.J., Burke, B., Caffrey, B., Chodkiewicz, T., Del Moral, J.C., Dumbovic Mazal, V., Fernández, N., Fornasari, L., Gerlach, B., Godinho, C., Herrando, S., Ieronymidou, C., Johnston, A., Jovicevic, M., Kalyakin, M., Keller, V., Knaus, P., Kotrošan, D., Kuzmenko, T,, Leitão, D., Lindström, Å., Maxhuni, Q., Mihelič, T., Mikuska, T., Molina, B., Nagy, K., Noble, D., Jostein Øien, I., Paquet, J.-Y., Pladevall, C., Portolou, D., Radišić, D., Rajkov, S., Rajković, D.Z., Raudonikis, L., Sattler, T., Saveljić, D., Shimmings, P., Sjenicic, J., Šťastný, K., Stoychev, K., Strus, I., Sudfeldt, C., Sultanov, E., Szép, T., Teufelbauer, N., Uzunova, D., van Turnhout, C.A.M., Velevski, M., Vikstrøm, T., Vintche

Published: July 2023  

Journal: Nature Communications Volume: 14

Article No.: 4304

Digital Identifier No. (DOI): 10.1038/s41467-023-39093-1

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Climate change has been associated with both latitudinal and elevational shifts in species’ ranges. The extent, however, to which climate change has driven recent range shifts alongside other putative drivers remains uncertain. Here, we use the changing distributions of 378 European breeding bird species over 30 years to explore the putative drivers of recent range dynamics, considering the effects of climate, land cover, other environmental variables, and species’ traits on the probability of local colonisation and extinction. On average, species shifted their ranges by 2.4 km/year. These shifts, however, were significantly different from expectations due to changing climate and land cover. We found that local colonisation and extinction events were influenced primarily by initial climate conditions and by species’ range traits. By contrast, changes in climate suitability over the period were less important. This highlights the limitations of using only climate and land cover when projecting future changes in species’ ranges and emphasises the need for integrative, multi-predictor approaches for more robust forecasting.
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