Climate-driven range shifts of Levaillant's Woodpecker Picus vaillantii In the Western Mediterranean

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Climate change significantly impacts avian morphological and reproductive phenologies, particularly influencing the dis- tribution of endemic species with restricted ranges. This study explores the potential distributional shifts of the Levaillant's Woodpecker, endemic to North Africa, in response to climate change. We employed ecological niche modeling to assess its range dynamics during historical periods (Last Interglacial, Last Glacial Maximum, and mid-Holocene), the present, and projected future scenarios (2050 and 2070). The analysis incorporated 68 occurrence records of the species and 15 bioclimatic variables. Our findings indicate a current equilibrium between the woodpecker and its climatic environment. Historically, the species experienced a marked range contraction during the Last Interglacial, followed by a significant expansion in the Last Glacial Maximum. The mid-Holocene distribution closely resembled the present range. Future projections, however, suggest a decline in Levaillant's Woodpecker populations, with a shift towards higher altitude forests as a response to global warming impacts on their existing habitats. This study highlights the critical need for awareness about global warming and its potential threats to biodiversity, particularly forest avifauna.