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David Kjaer/rspb-images.com

Firecrest

Firecrest

Nesting: the nest is normally amongst the thin outer branches in conifers, or in ivy or other climbing plants.

Breeding season:

Mar

Apr

May

June

July

Aug

Sept

Scarce-breeding resident and uncommon passage migrant

Status

Feeding: Firecrests forage for small invertebrates, eg springtails, spiders and aphids amongst the mid-strata and canopy, and occasionally on the ground.

Conservation issues

  • Frequently occupied sites are in commercial woodlands at, or near, their economic maturity. They are therefore susceptible to felling or significant restructuring.

Management advice

  • The Population Status of Birds in Wales: Amber-listed27, 28

  • EU Birds Directive – Annex 1

  • Protected under Schedule 129 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act

Population trends and distribution

In Wales, firecrest is at the north-western edge of its European distribution, establishing itself as a breeding species during the 1970s. Present population size and trend is unknown.

Species requirements

Habitat: tall, well-vegetated coniferous woodland, often Norway spruce, with some deciduous trees along rides. They also breed in semi-natural deciduous woodland with a well-developed shrub layer of holly or yew.

General

  • Target management to sites known to have been occupied in recent years.

  • Plan for limited or gradual change to any mature tree component.

  • Integrate long-term planning for this species into Forest Design Plans to ensure long-term viability of key habitats.

Increase the extent or improve the quality of nest sites

  • Retain tall mature conifers (Norway

spruce in particular) alongside rides.

Increase the extent or improve the quality of foraging habitat

  • Increase the number of deciduous trees in ride-side locations by retention or planting.

  • Allow crowns to develop by light thinning.

  • Encourage a dense shrub layer of holly and/or yew by managing grazing and browsing or planting.

27 A scarce-breeding species in Wales with an average of <30 pairs. 28 Preliminary assessment for 2008 revision of The Population Status of Birds in Wales: Amber-listed. 29 A specially protected species.

75

No map has been produced for firecrest due to the confidential nature of the data.

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