Scientific Journal of the BirdLife Hungary

A Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület tudományos folyóirata

Ornis Hungarica. vol.28(2). (2020) p.66-73.

European Hamster at the edge: declining in nature and rare in owl pellets
Jenő J. Purger, Kornélia Kurucz, Dávid Szép, Dragica Purger, Boris Kryštufek, Danijel Ivajnšič, Tina Klenovšek & Franc Janžekovič

Download full article: [pdf] (622 Kb)


Over the last decades, the European Hamster (Cricetus cricetus) has been declining in many parts of its European range. Due to the lack of recent information on the occurrence and status of the European Hamster in the south-western Carpathian Basin west of the Danube, we used information gathered from prey remains in Common Barn-owl (Tyto alba) pellets. In spite of considerable sampling effort, we retrieved only few hamster remnants. Two skulls were found in Podolje (Croatia) in 2007 and 2016, respectively. Further five hamsters were retrieved from pellets collected in 2017, 11 km to the northwest in Udvar (Hungary). In Sátorhely, 5 km north from Udvar, one roadkill male was found on 27.07.2019. Testimonies from local inhabitants confirmed the current presence of the European Hamster in the area. Our results suggest the presence of a small isolated population in the border area of Croatia (UTM 10 km grid square CR27) and Hungary (CR18, CR19). This small isolated population is on the south-western limit of the range of the species. We presume that the population requires conservation attention because of its isolated position at the edge of the species’ range, its small size and low abundance. We call for a transboundary action by nature conservation authorities in Croatia and Hungary.