Factors affecting the distribution of Red-legged Partridges Alectoris rufa in an agricultural landscape of southern Portugal.
The main factors affecting the spring distribution of Red-legged Partridges Alectoris rufa were evaluated in a 1550-km2 landscape of southern Portugal, where different arable systems and hunting regimes were implemented. Partridge surveys were performed in April 1995 along 90, 250-m transects. Partridge locations and a number of environmental variables were incorporated and manipulated in a vector-based GIS. A multivariate logistic model of partridge detection was fitted using forward stepwise selection, and was validated using a jack-knife approach. The probability of detecting Red-legged Partridges within the landscape was positively affected by game management, structural diversity of cover, proportion of olive tree groves and wheat fields along the transects. Conservation implications of the results and research priorities are discussed.