European honey buzzard and gadwall: Rare birds return to Moscow

January 27

In 2020, two species that were considered to have disappeared from Moscow were spotted in the city: these are the European honey buzzard and gadwall.

The return of these rare birds to the capital has become possible due to the restoration, maintenance and development of ecosystems and the results of monitoring and research as well as the use of scientific experience and high technology. It is of great importance that the city is conducting maintenance work and rehabilitation of spoiled natural areas, as well as biotechnical measures to create conditions for rare animals and plants.

Mospriroda experts have recorded in the city over 40 bird and more than 10 mammal species that are listed in the Moscow Red Data Book. Overall, 315 counting sessions were carried out in 2020 to assess the city’s biological diversity.

During such regular counting sessions, experts from Mospriroda record their encounters with all inhabitants of Moscow parks, as well as their tracks. Special attention is paid to monitoring animals and birds from the Moscow Red Data Book.

Last year, these rare animals were seen in Moscow: the stoat, the European hare, the mountain hare, the European polecat, the European pine marten and the Eurasian water shrew. Among the rare birds are the northern shoveler, Eurasian teal, common buzzard, northern lapwing, middle spotted woodpecker, Eurasian woodcock, Eurasian coot and many others.

Moscow Red Data Book

Plant and animal species are listed in the Moscow Red Data book under various categories of rarity, starting from category zero.

This category includes species that were considered to have vanished from Moscow, for instance, the gadwall and the European honey buzzard.

Category one comprises endangered species whose population in Moscow has reduced to a critical level. Among them are the stoat, the European polecat and the European hare.

Category two includes rare or scarce species whose population is decreasing to such a level that any negative factors could threaten their existence and they might become extinct. These are, for example, European hedgehogs, mountain hares and Eurasian coots.

The third category comprises threatened species, whose numbers in Moscow could be reduced in a very short period of time due to specific factors of the urban environment. These are the least weasel, the Eurasian beaver and the European water vole.

Species with a precarious status comprise the fourth category, for instance, the northern birch mouse.

The fifth category lists revived species that have been rare in Moscow until recently. Their population has grown to a safe level but man-made factors in the city could still affect them. This category includes some birds like the white-backed woodpecker, northern goshawk and red-backed shrike.


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