Reinier van den Berg (PhD Candidate, CNRS-IPHC-DEPE & Faunastats)
Anna Nesterova (PhD co-supervisor, Faunastats)

April 2022 – May 2022 (8 weeks) (Can be slightly flexible based on internship needs)

Northern lapwing, fieldwork, camera trap, hatching, breeding, behaviour

The northern lapwing is a meadow bird that can be found breeding across Europe, and in
France north of the line Bordeaux – Lyon (Deceuninck 2001). Despite being found in so
many places and in significant numbers, the population of lapwings has been on a steady
decline both in Europe as well as in France (Birdlife International 2017, Deceuninck 2001),
with an estimated decline of 15% for breeding pairs in France between 2001 and 2019
(Fontaine et al. 2020). Reasons for this decline include predation, habitat loss, and
agricultural intensification (Leyrer et al., 2018).
While these factors remain important throughout the reproductive range of the species, the
degree to which each may affect breeding outcomes can vary between locations and over
time (Seymour 2003). Additionally, the type of threat may be different between locations as
well: Depending on habitat there can be different principal nest predators for ground-nesting
birds (Holopainen et al. 2021) and we might expect that nests in France may be vulnerable
to predation by wild boar (Darinot, 2014).
Increasingly, nest predation is assessed by placing cameras near active nests. This can
provide an accurate image of the principal nest predators in an area while being minimally
disruptive (Teunissen et al. 2008, Laidlaw et al. 2020).

As part of a larger project investigating northern lapwings in France, this project will involve
helping to follow nests of breeding northern lapwings with nest cameras until after hatching,
to investigate the following questions:
– What is the hatching success for northern lapwings breeding in Pas-de-Calais?
– Is predation the main driver of hatching success, or are different factors more
impactful in Pas-de-Calais?
– Do chicks stay around the nest longer based on environmental conditions?

Student responsibilities:
The successful student will be expected to perform varied tasks during the busiest part of the
field season. These tasks include:
Searching for breeding lapwing pairs at sites known to be attractive to breeding lapwings,
locating the nests of these pairs, placing and maintaining nest cameras at the nests,
documenting the direct environment of the nest, organising and storing data collected by the
cameras. These responsibilities will be spread throughout the study area.

Required Qualities:
Drivers’ Licence B (car)
Good organisational skills
Passion for ecology and/or animal behaviour

Desired qualities:
English language skills,
Previous field experience
Previous experience with animal observation
Experience observing birds

Acquired Competences and Skills:
Fieldwork experience
Behavioural observations
Working with trap cameras
Data management

Due to the short duration of the internship, no stipend will be provided
Travel costs on the field will be reimbursed

Application process:
Please send your CV and a letter of motivation to:
Reinier van den Berg (

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