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Banding and recovery data on several game bird species to study hunting selectivity

Cite this dataset

Grzegorczyk, Emilienne et al. (2022). Banding and recovery data on several game bird species to study hunting selectivity [Dataset]. Dryad.


Selective hunting has various impacts that need to be considered for the conservation and management of harvested populations. The consequences of selective harvest have mostly been studied in trophy hunting and fishing, where selection of specific phenotypes is intentional.  Recent studies however show that selection can also occur unintentionally. With at least 52 million birds harvested each year in Europe, it is particularly relevant to evaluate the selectivity of hunting on this taxon. Here we considered 211 806 individuals belonging to 7 hunted bird species to study unintentional selectivity in harvest. Using linear mixed models, we compared morphological traits (mass, wing and tarsus size) and body condition at the time of banding between birds that were subsequently recovered from hunting during the same year as their banding, and birds that were not recovered. We did not find any patterns showing systematic differences between recovery categories, among our model species, for the traits we studied. Moreover, when a difference existed between recovery categories, it was so small that its biological relevance can be challenged. Hunting of birds in Europe therefore does not show any form of strong selectivity on the morphological and physiological traits that we studied, and should hence not lead to any change of these traits either by plastic or evolutionary response. 


These data were collected in the framework of several ringing programmes of the CRBPO (Centre de Recherche sur la Biologie des Populations d'Oiseaux), OFB (Office Français de la biodiversité) and Tour du Valat. 

These data are ringing and recovery data for 7 huntable species:  Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca), Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula), Common Pochard (Aythya ferina), Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago), Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra), and Blackbird (Turdus merula). All individuals were ringed in France between 1953 and 2020. They  include ring recoveries reported from Europe, covering several putative flyways and including individuals potentially pertaining to distinct populations. With the exception of blackbirds, some banding seasons are missing before 2000. In addition, for Anatidae and Rallidae, no banding data were available between 1978 and 2000. 

Apart from information on recovery date, country of recovery and the cause of recovery, all other information was collected at the time of banding. Information on sex, age or morphology of the individuals is therefore collected at the time of banding only. 

Usage notes

These data can be opened with the R software and have been analysed with this software. They can also be opened via Excel or LibreOffice Calc


Office Français de la Biodiversité