Patronat de Turisme de la Diputació de TarragonaDiputació de Tarragona
Terres de l'Ebre 
© Jordi Bas i Casas
© Jordi Bas i Casas
© Jordi Bas i Casas
© Jordi Bas i Casas
© Jordi Bas i Casas
© Jordi Bas i Casas
© Toni Llobet i François
© Jordi Bas i Casas
© Jordi Bas i Casas
© Jordi Bas i Casas


Birds in the shaded forests

A project is underway in the Llaberia mountain range and other natural areas in Catalonia, to preserve yew trees and their habitat. The members of this project are the Technological Forestry Centre of Catalonia and in Terres de l’Ebre, the Llaberia Mountain Range Committee and Rasquera Town-hall, and it is being financed by the European Commission through the LIFE+ programme.
Different action is being taken, of which one area is to evaluate the role of birds as dispersers of seeds from trees such as the yew (Taxus baccata), holly (Ilex aquifolium), whitebeam (Sorbus aria) and the strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo). This research is being carried out within the framework of the TAXUS project, and its main aim to significantly improve the knowledge and preservation of yew trees in Catalonia. This is a LIFE programme financed by the European Commission. For more information go to

To evaluate the role of birds as good dispersers, a study of the Llaberia yew trees bird community has been carried out during the weeks when the yew trees  bear most fruit. There were 11 listening stations of 10 minutes, separated by more than 500m in areas with a lot of yew trees and 7 listening stations in nearby forest areas without yew trees. In this way it was possible to evaluate the difference in abundance of birds present and of species which could probably be dispersers.


Shown as follows are the species which have been detected and which form a diverse community. Among them are the song thrush (Turdus philomelos), blackbird (Turdus merula), European robin (Erithacus rubecula), Eurasian jay (Garrulus glandarius) and possibly the common chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) and great tit (Parus major).  This is a list of all of the species observed.

Species Scientific name Biology Period
Common chaffinch Fringilla coelebs Low-disperser I-XII
Red crossbill Loxia curvirostra Non-disperser I-XII
Common serín Serinus serinus Non-disperser I-XII
European robin Erithacus rubecula Medium- disperser I-XII
Common firecrest Regulus ignicapilla Non-disperser I-XII
Common linnet Carduelis cannabina Non-disperser I-XII
Eurasian jay Garrulus glandarius Medium-disperser I-XII
Meadow pipit Anthus pratensis Solely migratory X-IV
Water pipit Anthus spinoletta Solely migratory X-IV
European goldfinch Carduelis carduelis Non-disperser I-XII
Blackbird Turdus merula Medium disperser I-XII
European greenfinch Chloris chloris Non-disperser I-XII
Short-toed treecreeper Certhia brachydactyla Non-disperser I-XII
Song thrush Turdus philomelos High disperser X-IV
Great tit Parus major Low disperser I-XII
White wagtail Motacilla alba Non-disperser I-XII
Eurasian siskin Carduelis spinus Non-disperser I-XII
European crested tit Lophophanes cristatus Non-disperser I-XII
Eurasian wren Troglodytes troglodytes Non-disperser I-XII
Eurasian blue tit Parus caeruleus /
Cyanistes caureleus
Non-disperser I-XII
Common chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita Non-disperser I-XII
Common wood pigeon Columba palumbus Medium disperser I-XII
Dunnock Prunella modularis Non-disperser I-XII
Coal tit Parus ater
Periparus ater
Non-disperser I-XII
Long-tailed tit Aegithalos caudatus Non-disperser I-XII
Wood lark Lullula arborea Non-disperser I-XII
Brambling Fringilla montifringilla Low disperser IX-III
Common raven Corvus corax Non-disperser I-XII
Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax Non-disperser I-XII
Eurasian green woodpecker Picus viridis Non-disperser I-XII
Tree pipit Anthus trivialis Solely migratory III-X


These are all quite common species and can be observed throughout the year, although the best times to watch them are in the spring and autumn.

The role of carnivores as dispersers should also be mentioned, especially the Beech marten (Martes foina), and the Common genet (Geneta genetta), which could be significant and even as important as that of the birds.