Winter bird censuses in pine processionary moth (Thaumetopoea pityocampa) monitoring plots

Registros biológicos
Última versión publicado por Sierra Nevada Global Change Observatory. Andalusian Environmental Center, University of Granada, Regional Government of Andalusia el nov. 28, 2023 Sierra Nevada Global Change Observatory. Andalusian Environmental Center, University of Granada, Regional Government of Andalusia

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This dataset contains censuses of winter birds performed in a series of pine forest plots distributed throughout the Granada province (SE Spain). The plots are part of a monitoring network to study the phenology and intensity of defoliation by pine processionary moth (Thaumetopoea pityocampa), a lepidopteran that occasionally causes severe defoliation in Mediterranean pine forests. Although the initial objective is to seek for a relationship between the presence and abundance of pine processionary moth and birds that can potentially feed on it, the data can be useful for other purposes.


Los datos en este recurso de registros biológicos han sido publicados como Archivo Darwin Core(DwC-A), el cual es un formato estándar para compartir datos de biodiversidad como un conjunto de una o más tablas de datos. La tabla de datos del core contiene 5.886 registros.

también existen 1 tablas de datos de extensiones. Un registro en una extensión provee información adicional sobre un registro en el core. El número de registros en cada tabla de datos de la extensión se ilustra a continuación.

Occurrence (core)

Este IPT archiva los datos y, por lo tanto, sirve como repositorio de datos. Los datos y los metadatos del recurso están disponibles para su descarga en la sección descargas. La tabla versiones enumera otras versiones del recurso que se han puesto a disposición del público y permite seguir los cambios realizados en el recurso a lo largo del tiempo.


La siguiente tabla muestra sólo las versiones publicadas del recurso que son de acceso público.

¿Cómo referenciar?

Los usuarios deben citar este trabajo de la siguiente manera:

Hódar Correa J A (2023). Winter bird censuses in pine processionary moth (Thaumetopoea pityocampa) monitoring plots. Version 1.0. Sierra Nevada Global Change Observatory. Andalusian Environmental Center, University of Granada, Regional Government of Andalusia. Occurrence dataset.


Los usuarios deben respetar los siguientes derechos de uso:

El publicador y propietario de los derechos de este trabajo es Sierra Nevada Global Change Observatory. Andalusian Environmental Center, University of Granada, Regional Government of Andalusia. Esta obra está bajo una licencia Creative Commons de Atribución/Reconocimiento (CC-BY 4.0).

Registro GBIF

Este recurso ha sido registrado en GBIF con el siguiente UUID: 02c8b2ac-0cbb-43ef-9016-1f7a2f74fff1.  Sierra Nevada Global Change Observatory. Andalusian Environmental Center, University of Granada, Regional Government of Andalusia publica este recurso y está registrado en GBIF como un publicador de datos avalado por GBIF Spain.

Palabras clave

Occurrence; winter birds; pine processionary moth; monitoring


José Antonio Hódar Correa
  • Proveedor De Los Metadatos
  • Originador
  • Punto De Contacto
University of Granada
Avenida de la Fuente Nueva S/N
18071 Granada
+34 958 241000 ext. 20079
Andrea Ros Candeira
  • Punto De Contacto
Research Assistant
Laboratory of Ecology, Andalusian Institute for Earth System Research (IISTA-CEAMA), University of Granada
Avenida del Mediterráneo S/N
18006 Granada
+34 958249748

Cobertura geográfica

All the plots are located in the southeast of the Iberian Peninsula, mostly in the Granada province. There are some preselected plots in the province of Almería, but no censuses carried out so far. The plots were chosen trying to cover as much as possible the diversity of pine woodlands in which the pine processionary moth is present. The altitudinal range covers from sea level to 2500 m altitude, from coastal areas to high mountains and inland depressions, and pine forests can be natural, spontaneous regeneration, or the result of plantations.

Coordenadas límite Latitud Mínima Longitud Mínima [36,732, -3,773], Latitud Máxima Longitud Máxima [37,546, -2,62]

Cobertura taxonómica

This dataset includes a total of 5,886 occurrence records (exceeding 8,900 individuals) of the Accipitriformes, Passeriformes, Galliformes, Cuculiformes, Columbiformes, Piciformes, Falconiformes and Falconiformes orders. There are 27 families, 53 genera and 69 species represented in this dataset.

Orden Accipitriformes, Passeriformes, Galliformes, Cuculiformes, Columbiformes, Piciformes, Falconiformes, Bucerotiformes

Cobertura temporal

Fecha Inicial / Fecha Final 2019-11-15 / 2023-03-14

Datos del proyecto

1-The Sierra Nevada Global-Change Observatory ( is an ambitious project promoted by the Department of Sustainability, Environment and Blue Economy of the Regional Government of Andalusia with the scientific coordination of the University of Granada, in order to monitor the effects of global change in the Sierra Nevada protected area. For this purpose, the Sierra Nevada Global-Change Observatory has developed a monitoring programme and an information system for appropriate data management. 2- Smart EcoMountains (University of Granada-Sierra Nevada, Spain) is the Thematic Center on Mountain Ecosystems of the European Research Infrastructure LifeWatch-ERIC ( The main objective of the project is the long-term evaluation of mountain ecosystems' functions and services in the context of global change, using remote sensing, computing and new information and communication technologies advanced tools. The Smart EcoMountains project pursues three main objectives: 1) generate information on biodiversity, ecosystem services and global change in mountain ecosystems; 2) develop new technological tools and services that facilitate the exchange, localisation, access and analysis of data by scientists, in order to improve our knowledge of mountain ecosystems and the main global change processes affecting them; 3) develop tools to inform society about the most important global change processes affecting mountain biodiversity and ecosystem services, and support environmental managers and policymakers in science-based decision making. 3- Survival of an ectothermal organism requires that development and reproduction be synchronized with the appropriate periods of the annual cycle, and those inadequate with the phases of inactivity, but the sum of the times required for all phases of the life cycle cannot exceed one year in univoltine species. The problem we are going to unravel in this project is to understand if variation in the phenological strategy of the pine processionary moth (Thaumetopoea pityocampa) along an altitudinal gradient responds to an optimization of the pupation length, dragging as a consequence the rest of the cycle, or if on the contrary, it aims to diversify the possibility of avoiding predators and parasites, tracking a less optimal but broader period and playing with the climatic variety between years. Answering this question implies to understand what factors regulate the pupation length of the processionary and how non-climatic selective pressures (mainly predators and parasitoids) vary in each environment of the gradient. The study consists of three blocks: an observational one, designed to collect basic information about the species along the gradient; an experimental one, aimed at unravel what abiotic and, above all, biotic factors influence the phenology of the phase of the life cycle most difficult to observe, which is the pupa stage; and one of simulation, in which we will test our ability to predict the life cycle of the processionary, based on the observational and experimental data collected, through an ABM (Agent-Based Model). Although this project is primarily of basic research, its results will be important for the conservation and management of biodiversity in forest ecosystems. 4- The pine processionary moth (Thaumetopoea pityocampa, PPM) is a known defoliator alternating in its population dynamics periods at very low densities with periods of overpopulation, causing strong defoliation in the pine forests where it lives. The causes of this population dynamics have been attributed to abiotic (climate), biotic (predation, quantity and quality of food) factors, or both, with generally inconclusive results. The hypothesis that this project intends to explore is that PPM outbreaks are triggered by different causes in different places: although they share a development habitat (homogeneous pine forests) and a precondition in the biological features of the PPM (high reproductive investment, gregariousness), outbreaks start in "window of opportunity" in which group size and larval survival give each other positive feedback. To do this, we will take advantage of the different conditions that the PPM experiences along the altitude gradient of Sierra Nevada, in which previous data suggest that the "windows of opportunity" depend on climatic factors in the upper part of the gradient and biotic factors in the lower one. The study comprises of four blocks. First, we will use the Andalusian Government's database of PPM monitoring (1993-2019) to compare the characteristics of plots with highly contrasted PPM incidence histories. Second, we will quantify the predation rates in the successive life phases of the PPM by different types of predators (egg parasitoids, pupal parasitoids, birds and bats) in several plots that intensively monitored from 2015, distributed along the altitude gradient of the Sierra Nevada. Third, we will analyze, by means of experimental manipulations of the density of egg batch, the effect that the aggregation of egg batches has on the oviposition behavior of the moths, the predation rate and, later, the larval survival. Fourth, we will modify the bird density in a pine forest plot by placing nesting boxes, in order to determine if they are really able to control the PPM population. Although this project is eminently basic research, the results obtained will have significance for the conservation and management of biodiversity in forest ecosystems.

Título Several projects: 1-Sierra Nevada Global-Change Observatory | 2-Smart EcoMountains: Thematic Center on Mountain Ecosystem & Remote sensing, Deep learning-AI e-Services University of Granada-Sierra Nevada | 3-Biotic interactions and adaptation to climate of the Pine Processionary along an elevation gradient: how do they adjust their phenology to contrasting climatic environments? | 4-Windows of opportunity: predation, climate, or both, as determinants of the population dynamics of the Pine Processionary Moth along an altitudinal gradient
Identificador 1-OBSNEV | 2-LIFEWATCH-2019-10-UGR-4 | 3-PROPIFEN PGC2018-101773-B-I00 | 4-PRODEPRE PID2021-128681NB-I00
Fuentes de Financiación This work was conducted under the agreement “Convenio de colaboración entre la Consejería de Sostenibilidad, Medio Ambiente y Economía Azul de la Junta de Andalucía y la Universidad de Granada para el desarrollo de actividades vinculadas al Observatorio de Cambio Global de Sierra Nevada, en el marco de la Red de Observatorios de Cambio Global de Andalucía” and the project Smart EcoMountains “Thematic Center on Mountain Ecosystem & Remote sensing, Deep learning-AI e-Services University of Granada-Sierra Nevada” (LIFEWATCH-2019-10-UGR-4), which has been co-funded by the Ministry of Science and Innovation through the FEDER funds from the Spanish Pluriregional Operational Program 2014-2020 (POPE), LifeWatch-ERIC action line. The project has also been co-financed by the Provincial Council of Granada".

Personas asociadas al proyecto:

Regino Zamora Rodríguez
José Antonio Hódar Correa

Métodos de muestreo

The censuses began in 2019, and the aim is to maintain the census scheme for at least six consecutive winters (till 2025). The census method used is the variable-distance line transect (Gibbons et al. 1996). A 500 m itinerary is walked at a speed of about 2 km/h (about 15 minutes per transect), in the first 4 hours of the day, avoiding rain, snow and wind greater than 4 m/s. All contact with birds is recorded (visual or hearing), noting the bird species, the number of birds per contact, and the perpendicular distance (estimated by eye) between the contact and the census track. All censuses are carried out by the same observer (José Antonio Hódar Correa).

Área de Estudio The plots are selected in all types of pine woodlands in the southeast of the Iberian Peninsula. A 500 m long itinerary is established on each plot. Each plot is geolocated with the coordinates and altitude of the midpoint of the itinerary, unless the itinerary is curved, in which case the approximate midpoint of the sampling area is indicated. The censuses are carried out from November 1 to February 28, although in some high mountain plots the census can be carried out until March 15. Whenever possible, six censuses are carried out per plot per winter, uniformly distributed throughout the season.
Control de Calidad 1. The observer periodically trains its skills in bird recognition, whenever possible some helpers take part during censuses in order to test the skill capacity of the observer. 2. Records are stored in an Excel datasheet which is daily updated during the censusing period. 3. Once per year, data are updated to the main database. 4. Storage: data is stored in Linaria (, the institutional data repository of the Sierra Nevada Global-Change Observatory. Linaria is a normalised database focused on ecology and biodiversity related-data and it is developed in a PostgreSQL/PostGIS relational database management system (RDBMS). 5. Taxonomic validation: scientific names were reviewed by experts and were checked with the GBIF backbone taxonomy using the species matching tool ( 6. Standardisation: the standardisation to Darwin Core was done according to the practices recommended by the TDWG guidelines (

Descripción de la metodología paso a paso:

  1. 1. Field sampling (see Sampling Description section). 2. Data is stored in Linaria (, the institutional data repository of the Sierra Nevada Global-Change Observatory. 3. The dataset was standardised to the Darwin Core structure (De Pooter et al., 2017) as occurrence data. It contains, specifically: 5,886 occurrences, and 5,518 records of associated measurements of the variable: “Distance of the contact (bird) to transect line”. The Darwin Core elements included in the Occurrence Core are: occurrenceID, eventID, catalogNumber, datasetName, collectionCode, institutionCode, ownerInstitutionCode, modified, language, license, eventDate, year, month, day, basisOfRecord, recordedBy, recordedByID, individualCount, scientificName, taxonRank, kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, specificEpithet, scientificNameAuthorship, occurrenceStatus, locality, continent, country, countryCode, minimumElevationInMeters, maximumElevationInMeters, samplingProtocol, decimalLatitude, decimalLongitude, geodeticDatum, coordinateUncertaintyInMeters, habitat. For the Measurement or Fact Extension file, the Darwin Core elements included are: measurementID, occurrenceID, measurementType, measurementValue, measurementUnit, measurementMethod. 4. The resulting dataset was published through the Integrated Publishing Toolkit of the Spanish node of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) (

Referencias bibliográficas

  1. De Pooter, D., Appeltans, W., Bailly, N., Bristol, S., Deneudt, K., Eliezer, M., Fujioka, E., Giorgetti, A., Goldstein, P., Lewis, M., Lipizer, M., Mackay, K., Marin, M., Moncoiffé, G., Nikolopoulou, S., Provoost, P., Rauch, S., Roubicek, A., Torres, C., van de Putte, A., … Hernandez, F. (2017). Toward a new data standard for combined marine biological and environmental datasets - expanding OBIS beyond species occurrences. Biodiversity data journal, (5), e10989.
  2. Gibbons DW, Hill D and Sutherland WJ 1996. Birds. Pp. 227-259 in Sutherland WJ (ed.), Ecological census techniques, Cambridge U.P.

Metadatos adicionales

Identificadores alternativos 10.15470/yinvps