Landscape and climatic predictors of Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) distributions throughout Kazakhstan

Grant C. Mcdonald, Ákos Bede-Fazekas, Anton Ivanov, Lorenzo Crecco, Tamás Székely, András Kosztolányi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (SciVal)


Worldwide populations of shorebirds are declining, associated with a complex interplay of climate change, predation, human disturbance and habitat degradation. Comprehensive information on the distribution and breeding ecology of shorebird populations is crucial to understand and mitigate these threats. Kazakhstan, the largest country in Central Asia, comprises multiple flyways and breeding habitats for shorebird species, including the Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus, but information on the population size and breeding distribution of shorebird species in the region is highly limited. We conducted a wide-scale survey of Kentish Plover across Kazakhstan during the breeding season and utilize species distribution modelling to outline key anthropogenic and environmental variables that determine Kentish Plover presence. Our results reveal widespread distribution of Kentish Plovers across Kazakhstan but indicate that breeding densities are generally low. Our distribution modelling stresses the primary importance of proximity to water bodies and climate as the main predictors of Kentish Plover presence, but reveals a weak association with indicators of human disturbance. We utilize our distribution modelling to provide the first quantitative estimate of the breeding population size of Kentish Plover in Kazakhstan, which indicates a modest number of individuals given the size of the country (between 12 000 and 32 000 individuals). Our results indicate the key routes via which climate change may impact on population-level distributions of Kentish Plover and provide a platform for future studies investigating species distributions across similarly vast and inaccessible regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)949-967
Number of pages19
Issue number4
Early online date23 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the Uralsk Anti‐Plague Station of the State Sanitary Epidemiological Surveillance Committee, Kazakhstan, and are especially grateful to Nurbek Maykanov and Myram Berdenov, who provided facilities and expertise in the field. We also thank Anastasia Egorova for assistance with fieldwork and Aleksey Koshkin of the Korgalzhyn Nature Reserve. We are very grateful to Ruslan Urazaliyev and the Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan (ACBK) as well as the Head of the Kazakh Bird Banding Centre Andrey Gavrilov (The Zoological Institute of the Kazakh Academy of Sciences) for support in the preparation and execution of the project. We are grateful to Rob Sheldon for thoughtful comments on an earlier draft of our manuscript. The NDVI product was generated by the land service of Copernicus, the Earth Observation programme of the European Commission. The research leading to the current version of the product has received funding from various European Commission Research and Technical Development programmes. The product is based on PROBA‐V 333m data (© ESA and distributed by VITO). Computation‐intensive parts of the research flow were conducted in the virtual server of the EcoInformatics & GIS Laboratory of the Centre for Ecological Research (, which is gratefully acknowledged.


  • Central Asia
  • environmental drivers
  • habitat suitability
  • shorebird
  • species distribution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


Dive into the research topics of 'Landscape and climatic predictors of Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) distributions throughout Kazakhstan'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this