Identification of Black-tailed Godwit’s <i>Limosa limosa</i> breeding habitat by botanical and environmental indicators
Despite concentrated conservation efforts and targeted agri-environmental schemes, breeding wader species have declined in most western European countries during recent decades. Assuming that wader species aggregate in relation to physical and biological features of their breeding habitats, this study aimed to identify botanical and environmental indicators that can be used to identify sites and management regimes to enhance breeding potential for the Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa as a focal species. We selected 36 fields (mean 7.1 ha) with and without this species in grazed lowland grasslands in the Danish Wadden Sea area. Bird numbers observed during 2007 and 2008 were analysed in relation to environmental and management variables together with presence/absence of plant species in the main body of the fields, the field silt trenches and field edges. Black-tailed Godwits preferred unfertilized fields with a short growth plant community that included the presence of moss-carpet. The plant indicator species for fields with Black-tailed Godwit were besides Bryopsida (moss sp.) also Trifolium pratense var. maritimum (maritime red clover), Poa trivialis (rough meadowgrass), Plantago major (greater plantain) and Veronica serpyllifolia (thyme-leaved speedwell).