Working Paper Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

New Elements to Improve Population Estimation Methods for Capercaillie in Leks: Singing Counts and Genetics Methods

Version 1 : Received: 16 August 2021 / Approved: 17 August 2021 / Online: 17 August 2021 (10:16:07 CEST)

How to cite: Aleix-Mata, G.; López-Montoya, A.J.; Lapebie, P.; Marty, E.; Mourieres, P.; Pérez, J.M.; Sánchez, A. New Elements to Improve Population Estimation Methods for Capercaillie in Leks: Singing Counts and Genetics Methods. Preprints 2021, 2021080357 Aleix-Mata, G.; López-Montoya, A.J.; Lapebie, P.; Marty, E.; Mourieres, P.; Pérez, J.M.; Sánchez, A. New Elements to Improve Population Estimation Methods for Capercaillie in Leks: Singing Counts and Genetics Methods. Preprints 2021, 2021080357

Abstract

The capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) is the largest game bird in the boreal and montane forests of the Western Palearctic. Precise and accurate methods to estimate the number of individuals or density are crucial for a proper management of its wildlife populations. However, obtaining reliable estimates of the wild species abundance, particularly birds, is not a simple task. In the case of the lek-mating birds, such as the capercaillie, surveys are based on counts singing males on the matting areas, the lek. In this work two traditional approaches have been performed: counts from a hide, and by walking around the lek. The results were compared to those obtained by combining non-invasive sampling and genetics analysis (NIS-GA) and capture-recapture modelization of the capercaillies population size in leks ( ). Detections probability (P) and the effective detection range (EDR) were estimated for the singing count methods. The results show that the classical singing counts do not permit to estimate all the capercaillies: the probability of detection is 35-36% (hides) and 61-63% (walking). The EDR estimated was 54m and of 104m respectively. This result suggests that the count approach by walking around the leks is more efficient than by hiding. Our original method combining NIS-GA to capture-recapture models is the most adequate to estimate population size since singing counts underestimates the capercaillies on the leks and can cause disturbance to the species.

Keywords

Capture-recapture; Detection probability; Distance Sampling; Non-invasive genetics; Population size.

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