Rapid decline of Spectacled Warbler noted in southern France


French ornithologists have revealed that Spectacled Warbler is on the verge of extirpation in the department of Pyrénées-Orientales, as part of a wider national decline.

In France, Spectacled Warbler is restricted to the Mediterranean region, where it has traditionally been found in open areas with low vegetation from sea level to high in the mountains, including in the saltmarshes of the Camargue and the lavender fields of Provence.

Spectacled Warbler is on the verge of extirpation in Pyrénées-Orientales, as part of a wider decline across its French range (Lee Fuller).

However, the national population has been in decline for some time and the species is classified as Endangered on the French Red List.

Reasons cited for the drop in numbers include the decline of pastoral farming in the Mediterranean region, which has reduced the availability of nesting sites.

In 2008, Groupe Ornithologique du Roussillon (GOR) estimated 60 to 180 pairs nesting in Pyrénées-Orientales. However, during the past 14 years the species has suffered a drastic decline and GOR said on its Facebook page in early August: "The year 2022 seems to be the death of our population, since only one singing male (unpaired) has been found at Salanque, despite searches on all historical sites in the department."