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Dryad

Data for: Southern Europe is becoming climatically favourable for African birds: anticipating the establishment of a new species

Cite this dataset

López-Ramírez, Sandro (2023). Data for: Southern Europe is becoming climatically favourable for African birds: anticipating the establishment of a new species [Dataset]. Dryad. https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.bzkh189fb

Abstract

Background: The current modification of species distribution ranges, as a response to a warmer climate, constitutes an interesting line of work and a recent challenge for biogeography. This study aimed to determine if the climatic conditions of southern Europe are adequate to host a typical African species, the House Bunting, which is registered regularly during the last years, still in low numbers. To this end, the distribution of the species in its native range was modelled, both in the present and in future climate scenarios, using its current breeding distribution areas and a set of environmental variables.

Results: The results showed that the southern half of the Iberian Peninsula exhibits high values of favourability to host this African species for the current climatic conditions. Furthermore, future forecasts indicated an increase in favourability for this area. The highly favourable areas we detected in the south of the Iberian Peninsula are already regularly receiving individuals of the species. These observations are very likely vagrant birds dispersing from recently colonised breeding areas in northern Morocco, which may indicate a continuous process of colonisation towards the north, as has occurred during the last decades in Northern Africa.

Conclusions: We cannot anticipate when the House Bunting will establish on the European continent because colonisation processes are usually slow but, according to our results, we predict its establishment in the near future. We have also identified those areas hosting favourable conditions for the species in Europe. These areas are a potential focal point for the colonisation of this and other African birds if the climate continues to warm.

Funding

Ministerio de Educación Cultura y Deporte, Award: FPU20/01360