EU LIFE+ Project - Securing the future of the stone-curlew in the UK
The elusive stone-curlew, a summer breeder in the UK, is very vulnerable to human disturbance and relies on dry stony soil for camouflage - limiting the habitat available to it.
For more detailed information on our work to bring the rare stone-curlew back from the brink and here to stay please click on the links on the right for the Wessex Stone-curlew Project, and Eastern England Stone-curlew Project.
Here you can find out how you can help, get contact details for local advisers, and find out more about how we've worked together with local farmers, landowners and other conservation organisations to recover the stone-curlew population over the last 30 years, and how the new EU LIFE+ funded project is helping to ensure that stone-curlews can thrive in the UK into the future, by helping landowners create safe nesting habitat in these two areas of the UK where stone-curlews remain.
- Increase the proportion of stone-curlews nesting on safe nesting habitat to over 75 per cent, with the ultimate goal of stone-curlews producing enough young to sustain the population without interventions on cropped land.
- Provide information and advice on stone-curlews to a wide audience including farmers, land managers, local residents, decision makers and other organisations, to enable them to take action.
- Promote the protection of core stone-curlew areas (from inappropriate development and poor management), particularly around the three Natura 2000 sites designated for stone-curlews: the Breckland, Salisbury Plain and Porton Down Specially Protected Areas (SPAs)
- Help to double the carrying capacity of short grass-heath and downland (semi-natural habitats) for nesting stone-curlews through e.g. designing and facilitating better grazing and predation control regimes.
- Improve the deployment of, and develop better management advice for fallow plots on arable farmland, to provide effective safe nesting habitat within arable crops where nest could be destroyed.
- Work with Natural England to develop and strengthen the new environmental land management scheme, to ensure practical options are available to benefit stone-curlews, enabling more safe nesting habitat to be created cost efficiently on farmland (both arable and semi-natural grassland).
- Reduce the long term need for annual interventions and intensive population monitoring, by supporting/developing innovative ways of monitoring the population and protecting nests on cropped land.
Work planned or underway
We're half way through the four year project now, and are well on our way to achieving the habitat creation we hoped for with many landowners doing their bit. We had a bit of set back in 2013 with the unprecedented cold weather killing off up to a quarter of all stone-curlews, but thankfully they bounced back in 2014. From knitted stone-curlews to TV appearances and special roost experience events, stone-curlews are gaining public appreciation like never before. We hope this will translate into greater support for their conservation and protection, and generate market support for stone-curlew friendly farmers.
Please read our annual newsletters below or regional project pages for more information.
Who to contact
Project Manager- Stone-curlew UK (LIFE)
The project’s objectives are supported by Natural England, and we will be working closely with other organisations, landowners and land managers including the Ministry of Defence and Wildlife Trusts.
Funded by EU LIFE+, Supporting the implementation of the EU Birds and Habitats Directives, and Natura 2000 network of protected sites.