Scientific Journal of the BirdLife Hungary

A Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület tudományos folyóirata

Ornis Hungarica. vol.28(1). (2020) p.92-103.

Woodcock (Scolopax rusticola L.) nestings in Carpatian Basin from the second half of the 19th century to present days
Attila Bende & Richárd László

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In this study, we summarized and evaluated nesting data of 300 Woodcocks in both historic and present Hungary recorded from the 19th century until now that appeared in 108 ornithological and hunting literature including the results of Vönöczky Schenk’s study (1908–1917). We acquired a comprehensive picture of Woodcock nestings in the Carpathian Basin as we drew nesting maps based on previously collected data analysis. We classified those significant regions where nesting data of this sparsely nesting species were registered. It is ascertainable that the distribution of Woodcock nestings concentrated in certain regions of the country both before and after the First World War. Nesting data collected before 1921 concentrated to higher areas especially the well forested regions of the Carpathian Mountains where 3 main nesting regions can be distinguished with 72% of all nesting data. The most significant nesting area is the region of the North Carpathian Mountains (36%) (Pest-Pilis-Solt-Kiskun, Esztergom, Hont, Nógrád, Borsod, Gömör and Kis-Hont, Abaúj-Torna, Zólyom, Liptó, Sáros, Zemplén and Ung counties). The second main nesting region is situated on the ranges of the East and South Carpathian Mountains (26%) (Máramaros, Beszterce-Naszód, Maros-Torda, Udvarhely, Kisküküllő, Nagyküküllő, Brassó, Fogaras, Szeben, Alsó-Fehér, Torda-Aranyos counties). The third important nesting region can be found in the west part of Historic Hungary (10%) (Moson, Győr, Sopron, Vas, Zala counties). The distribution of nesting observations – based on data collected between 1921–2019 – can be connected well to mountainous nesting regions in the Kingdom of Hungary where nesting conditions were more favourable. Many of these regions are abroad now. Apart from sparse nestings on the Great Hungarian Plain, breeding grounds concentrate in well forested areas such as in North Hungarian counties (63%) (Pest, Nógrád and Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén) and in some Transdanubian counties (31%) mainly in Győr-Moson Sopron, Vas, Veszprém and Baranya counties. 

In the dominant nesting regions this species typically do not join to higher altitudes, however, in the south margin of their nesting region in the Carpathian Basin – based on 170 years nesting data (n=704) – it can be stated that they rather nest in woodlands of higher altitudes due to their more favourable (cool and rainy) climatic features.