Updated: Jan 15, 2021
Dr. Paula Orozco-Valor of the Centro para el Estudio y Conservacion de las Aves Rapaces en Argentina, Universidad Nacional de la Pampa, has received an award of US$1000. This award will support her project, “Trophic and breeding ecology of American kestrel in agroecosystems of central Argentina”, as part of a long-term study on the effects of agriculture intensification on birds of prey in Argentina. Agricultural intensification is a process that entails of the homogenization of agricultural landscapes and a significant loss of biodiversity associated with farmland. Argentina is an extreme example of landscape homogenization generated by industrial agricultural production of soybean monocultures across huge areas. Evaluating how such environmental changes affect the ecology and conservation status of the raptor community will help advance IBCP’s mission of fostering research, outreach, and partnerships to advance the conservation of birds worldwide.
Paula Orozco-Valor with American Kestrel in Argentina
In this project, Paula will use as a study model a typical predator linked to agroecosystems, the American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) along a gradient of agricultural intensification (from native Caldén forest to traditional farming areas and finally to intensive farming areas) in La Pampa province. The general objective is to analyze the possible effects that agricultural intensification have on food availability and diet of this species and if this possible variation is associated with differences in parental care and demographic parameters. A priori we would expect to find negative effects of the intensification process on potential American Kestrel prey populations (especially insects) in agricultural systems. In addition, she expects that prey populations will increase their abundance and diversity across the gradient of agricultural intensification from the intensive agricultural area to traditional agricultural area and finally to Caldén forest area. She predicts that these changes should be directly reflected in the diet, influence parental care and ultimately the reproductive success of American Kestrels. Results of this project will contribute to advancing our knowledge of bird ecology and inform conservation actions, and we wish her every success!
Color-banded juvenile American Kestrel in Argentina
For more about Paula’s research, please see the following articles:
Orozco-Valor, P. M., & Grande, J. M. (2020). Weather and agricultural intensification determine the breeding performance of a small generalist predator. Scientific Reports 10(1), 1-13.
Mansilla, A. P., Solaro, C., Orozco-Valor, P. M., Grande, J. M., Sarasola, J. H., & Diaz, A. (2020). Exposure of Raptors in Central Argentina to St. Louis Encephalitis and West Nile Viruses. Journal of Raptor Research 54(3), 279-286.
Orozco-Valor, P. M. 2019. Reseña de tesis: “Efectos de la intensificación agrícola sobre la demografía y la salud de una rapaz típica de agroecosistemas, el halconcito colorado (Falco sparverius) en el centro de argentina”. Hornero 34 (2):57-58.