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Less Butterflies, Less Swallows & Martins!

The decline in swallow, martin and swift populations is, among other reasons, related to the decline of the invertebrate populations on which they feed. A report on the state of butterfly populations in the UK was recently published and the results are disheartening: 80% of species are less abundant and their range has shrunk. Although butterflies are not the most common prey for swallows, martins and swifts, this group highlights what is happening to insects across Europe.

In our country, unfortunately we have no data that allows us to say what is happening to butterflies. In Portugal, 2023 will be the fifth year in which a concerted effort is being made to monitor butterflies, with around 80 sites being sampled, thanks to Tagis - Portuguese Butterfly Conservation Centre and all those who have joined in with this initiative. It is a commendable effort, but still insufficient and incomparable with what is done in other countries.

Preserving swallows, martins and swifts must also include preserving the insects on which they feed. For this it is necessary to promote land uses that benefit invertebrates and biodiversity in general and to stop the widespread use of chemicals, especially insecticides!


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