José Luis Copete is an editor at the Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive, the greatest work on the birds of the world that has ever been published but, in addition to this task, he has a passion for investigation that has taken him to the most hidden corners of the Palearctic to study warblers, flycatchers and buntings. One of his target species is the Hortolan Bunting, a bird in population decline that undertakes long distance migrations in contrast to other European buntings, which are resident or partial migrants. However, this bird faces one of the greatest dangers a bird can face on migration: hunting. Hortolan Buntings are hunted massively in France to be consumed as a delicacy for French gourmet-hunters who consider les ortolans à la provençale as a true feast. Is this a factor of its decline?
In this talk, Copete will show the results of a 5-year work to study the migration routes of the Hortolan Bunting across an enormous area from Spain to Russia, using techniques that include the use of geolocators and isotope analysis. Apart from the migration of the bird, he has also studied the genetic structure of the European population, revealing surprises about its biology that will be unveiled in this talk.