During the past 2020 February, the LIFE Ricotí Project has continued previous research on Dupont’s Lark (Chersophilus duponti) carried out ten years ago by the Terrestrial Ecology Group of the Autonomous University of Madrid (TEG-UAM).

Between 2005 and 2010, researchers from the TEG-UAM and the Institute for Game and Wildlife Research (IREC-CSIC) made several field trips to Morocco, whose purpose was to define the distribution range and population size of Dupont’s Lark in that country. Moreover, censuses of other steppe larks species were done in the East of Morocco along a xericity gradient from Mediterranean to arid areas.

In 2020, as part of the LIFE Ricotí project, another team of researchers from TEG-UAM and the IREC-CSIC re-engaged in a new field trip in order to update information about distribution, populations status and habitat of Dupont’s Lark. During 15 days at the beginning of the reproductive period of the Dupont’s Lark, we prospected five study areas driving more than 4400km and covering several different habitat types. Finally, 64 males of Dupont’s lark were captured and valuable data of biometric measures and biological samples were obtained. This information will allow to carry out analysis on population trends, biogeography, blood parasites and genetic population structure, and to deepen in intraspecific differences between Spanish and Moroccan populations.

In the present context of climate change and increasing desertification process, these samplings in Morocco will improve the information about the conservation status and threats of the species and its habitat (as well as of others surveyed larks) in this country. Thus, the LIFE Ricotí project will help to make more accurate proposals to IUCN ensuring worldwide conservation of Dupont’s Lark.

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TEG Ricotí-UAM team