Kiss, O., Catry, I., Avilés, J.M., Barišić, S., Kuzmenko, T., Cheshmedzhiev, S., Marques, A.T., Meschini, A., Schwartz, T., Tokody, B. & Végvári, Z. (2020) Past and future climate-driven shifts in the distribution of a warm-adapted bird species, the European Roller.Bird Study, , 143-159. DOI:10.1080/00063657.2020.1784842 (IF2020 0,819; Q3 Ornithology)
Capsule: The distribution range of the European Roller Coracias garrulus has undergone large changes over geological times, but although the species is warm-adapted, the human induced climate change is predicted to affect negatively the range of the currently large populations.
Aim: Information on species-specific vulnerability to climate change is crucial not only for designing interventions and setting conservation goals, but also to inform conservation decision-making. Our goal was to map climate suitability for the European Roller in the Western Palaearctic under current climate, and for past (last glacial maximum and mid-Holocene) and future (2050 and 2070) climate scenarios.
Methods: We used MaxEnt for species distribution modelling based on the reconstructed distribution map of the species.
Results: Our results suggest that during glacial periods Rollers persisted in small southern refugia, and then spread and colonized northern latitudes during the mid-Holocene. In the future, our models forecast a shift in climatically suitable range towards northern latitudes and an overall small range contraction (4.5–5.5%). Warmer temperatures will increase climate suitability in northern countries where the species is currently declining or became locally extinct. On the other hand, wide suitable areas under current climatic conditions are predicted to become unsuitable in the future (35–38% by 2050 and 2070, respectively), significantly impacting large populations such as those in Romania, Spain, Bulgaria and Hungary. French and Italian populations are identified to be future key populations for Roller conservation.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that future climate changes will likely amplify the impacts of existing threats on the majority of large European Roller populations in Europe.