Europe and Central Asia
29 Oct 2015

BirdLife in France to publish atlas of 357 species of French birds

The atlas was developed by LPO, SEOF and the National Natural History Museum in Paris. Photo: LPO
By Sanya Khetani-Shah

An ‘atlas’ of birds – which shows the status and distribution of species according to their breeding, wintering and migration across a city, region, country or continent – is important, not only as a catalogue for further scientific research, but also to show the decline in biodiversity over the years.

This is why France has had two national atlases of bird species, one published in 1975 and the second in 1989. But since then, bird species distribution in France has significantly changed.

To present the state of bird populations as well as the places of their evolution since the last atlas, especially in a time when the EU is grappling with its 2020 biodiversity strategy, a new edition of the French bird atlas will be published on November 12.

The atlas was developed by LPO (BirdLife in France) and SEOF (The Ornithological Society of Studies of France) with the scientific collaboration of the National Natural History Museum, Paris. The Atlas sums up 357 contemporary detailed monographs and three sub-species that breed or winter in France in 1.400 pages spread over two volumes. They are illustrated by over 700 photographs of birds and 1.500 maps of historical and current distributions, and abundance.

The task wasn’t easy. The atlas is based on six years of research efforts on birds’ distribution, reproductive status and abundance by the ornithological community, and the mobilisation of thousands of observers, volunteers and employees, who collected information on nesting birds for four springs.

To make sure the atlas covered the whole country and its maps were as detailed as possible, the territory was divided into a grid of nearly 6,000 squares of 10 x 10 km. Each square was then surveyed by birdwatchers and scientists. 

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Today, this French Bird Atlas could be a great tool for the protection of species and biodiversity. You can access it online or purchase a printed copy here

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