Research interests

Animals may finally become either prey or carcasses. The ecology and behavior of predation have received much attention from researchers. On the contrary, the ecology of scavenging processes is largely unexplored. My research focuses on the behavior, ecology, and conservation of scavengers and other species indirectly affected by the presence of carcasses in the wild. I deep into the ecological implications of carrion resources predictability (conferred by the disposition of carcasses at 'vulture restaurants') in relation to unpredictable natural carcasses. Both of them differ in their spatial and temporal predictability; what consequences will trigger on the structure and functioning of scavenger guilds and ecosystems?

By means of Individual-Based Models, I also try to understand the mechanisms behind the social foraging behavior of scavenger species and how they share information to find animals that may die in any site and time, always using field raw data. It is well-known that social information influences animal movement, foraging, habitat selection, etc. However, the relative contribution of personal and social information to explain individual and collective behavior in different species and contexts is an open question in animal ecology. Theoretical approaches have shown that individual behavior based on simple and local social information could explain complex collective behaviors, such as birds flocking and fish schooling or breeding synchrony. However, empirical works are scarce to describe which social information is used and how it is used to in different real-world scenarios. And most importantly what is important is to combine theoretical and empirical approaches to compare the relative relevance of different hypotheses to predict natural patterns. In particular, there is a major lack of studies combining theoretical and empirical approaches to test the relative relevance of different hypothesized individual behaviors to predict empirical collective patterns. 

Finally, I am also involved in the study of the reconciling cultural ecosystem services of rewilded abandoned farmlands with the conservation of these endangered bird species. The study of socio-ecological components may allow exploring how conflicts between different ecosystem services can be managed in natural parks and other important areas for biodiversity. For example, to understand simultaneously what are tourists demanding from a natural park (recreational service) and what is their unintentional detrimental effect on the behavior and reproduction of the bird community (biodiversity conservation). Moreover, I evaluate the economic and sanitary services that scavengers provide to society. 
SCI Journals

26. Cortés-Avizanda, A.,  Martín-López, B.,  Ceballos, O. and Pereira, H.M (2018). Stakeholders perceptions of the endangered Egyptian vulture: insights for conservation. Biological Conservation  218: 173- 180.

25. García-Barón, I., Cortés-Avizanda, A., Verburg, P.H., Marques, T.A., Moreno‐Opo, R., Pereira, H.M. and Donázar, J.A. (2018) How to fit the distribution of apex scavengers into land‐abandonment scenarios? The Cinereous vulture in the Mediterranean biome. Diversity and Distributions  24:1018-1031.   Awarded with the cover plate of the journal.

24. Donázar, J.A, Ceballos, O. and Cortés-Avizanda, A. (2018). Tourism in protected areas: Disentangling road and traffic effects on intra-guild scavenging processes. Science of The Total Environment 630, 600-608.

23. Arrondoa, E., Moleón, M., Cortés-Avizanda, A., Jiménez, J., Beja, P., Sánchez-Zapata, J.A.Donázar, J.A. (2018).Invisible barriers: Differential sanitary regulations constrain vulture movements across country borders Biological Conservation 219: 46–52 

22. Sanz-Aguilar, A., Cortés-Avizanda, A.Serrano, D., Blanco, G., Ceballos, O., Grande, J.M., Tella, J.L., and Donázar, J.A. (2017). Sex- and age-dependent patterns of survival and breeding success in a long-lived endangered avian scavenger. Scientific Reports 7:40204

21. Morales-Reyes, Z., Pérez-García, J.M., Moleón, M., Botella, F., Carrete, M., Donázar, J.A, Cortés-Avizanda A., Arrondo, E., Moreno-Opo, R., Jimenez, J., Margalida, A. and Sánchez-Zapata; J.A. (2017) Evaluation of the network of protection areas for the feeding of scavengers (PAFs) in Spain: from biodiversity conservation to greenhouse gas emission savings. Journal Applied Ecology online published.  doi:10.1111/1365-2664.12833

20. Cortés-Avizanda, A., and Pereira, H.M. (2016). Rewilding: vulture restaurants cheat ecosystems. Nature 540: 525.

19. Donázar, J.A., Cortés-Avizanda, A., Fargallo, J.A.Margalida, A., Moleón, M. Morales-Reyes, Z., Pérez-García, J.M.,ánchez-Zapata, J.A., Zuberogoitia, I., Serrano, D. (2016) Roles of raptors in changing world:from flagships to providers of key ecosystem services. Ardeola 63(1): 181-234.

18. Cortés-Avizanda, A., Blanco, G., DeVault, T.L, Markandya, A., Virani, M.Z., Brandt, J. and Donázar, J.A. (2016) Supplementary feeding and endangered species: benefits, caveats, and controversies. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 14 (4): 191-199. Awarded with the cover plate of the journal.

17. Fernandez-Bellon,D., Cortés-Avizanda, A., Arenas, R. and Donázar, J.A. (2016) Density-dependent productivity in a colonial vulture at two spatial scales. Ecology  (doi: 10.1890/15-0357.1)
16. Cortés-Avizanda, A., Colomer, M.A., Margalida, A. Ceballos, O and Donázar, J.A. (2015)  Modeling the consequences of the demise and potential recovery of a keystone-species: wild rabbits and avian scavengers in Mediterranean landscapes. Scientific Reports 5: Article number: 17033

15. Arrondo, E., Cortés-Avizanda, A. and Donázar, J.A. (2015). Temporally unpredictable supplementary feeding may benefit endangered scavengers. Ibis 157: 648-651.

14. Cortés-Avizanda, A., Jovani, R., Donázar, J.A. and Grimm, V. (2014).  Birds sky networks: How do avian scavengers search for carrion resource. Ecology 95:1799–1808. Awarded (2000 Euros) as best paper in PostDoc category in Estación Biológica de Doñana (CSIC)- Severo Ochoa

13. García-Heras, S., Cortés-Avizanda, A. and Donázar, J.A. (2013). Who are we feeding? Asymmetric individual use of surplus food resources in an insular population of the endangered Egyptian vulture Neophron percnopterus. PLOS ONE 8(11): e80523.

12. Sebastián-González, E., Sanchez-Zapata, J.A., Donázar, J.A., Selva, N., Cortés-Avizanda, A., Hiraldo, F., Blázquez, M., Botella, F. And Monleón, M. (2013). Interactive effects of obligate scavengers and scavenger community richness on lagomorph carcass consumption patterns. Ibis 155: 881-885.

11. Carrete M., Bortolotti G.R., Sánchez-Zapata J.A., Delgado A. , Cortés-Avizanda, A., Grande J. M. and Donázar, J.A. (2013) Stressful conditions experienced by endangered Egyptian vultures on African wintering areas. Animal Conservation 16, 353-358.

10.  Cortés-Avizanda, A.,Jovani, R. Carrete, M. and Donázar, J.A. (2012). Resource unpredictability promotes species diversity and coexistence in an avian scavenger guild: a field experiment. Ecology 93: 2570–2579.

9. Selva, N., Hobson, K.A., Cortés-Avizanda, A., Zalewski, A., Donázar, J.A. (2012). Mast Pulses Shape Trophic Interactions between Fluctuating Rodent Populations in a Primeval Forest. PLoS ONE 7(12): e51267. 

8. Margalida, A., Oro, D., Cortés-Avizanda, A., Heredia, R. and Donázar, J.A. (2011). Misleading estimates: biases and consistency of visual surveys and matrix modelling in the endangered bearded vulture. PLoS ONE 6 (6): e26784.8

7. Cortés-Avizanda, A., Almaraz, P., Carrete, M.,  Sánchez-Zapata, J.A.,  Delgado, A.,  Hiraldo, F. and  Donázar, J.A. (2011). Spatial heterogeneity in resource distribution promotes facultative sociality in two trans-Saharan migratory birds. PLoS ONE 6 (6): e21016


6. Cortés-Avizanda, A., Carrete, M. and Donázar, J.A. (2010). Managing supplementary feeding for avian scavengers: guidelines for optimal design using ecological criteria. Biological Conservation 143: 1707-1715. 

5. Donázar, J.A., Cortés-Avizanda A.,  and Carrete M. (2010). Dietary shifts in two vultures after the demise of supplementary feeding stations: consequences of the EU sanitary legislation. European Journal of Wildlife Research 56: 613-621. 
4. Cortés-Avizanda, A., Ceballos, O., Urmeneta, A., and Donázar, J.A. (2010). First case of albinism in Egyptian vultures. Journal of Raptor Research 44(4): 325-330. 


3. Cortés-Avizanda, A., Carrete, M., Serrano, D. and Donázar, J.A. (2009). Carcasses increase the probability of predation of ground nesting birds: a caveat regarding the conservation value of vulture restaurants. Animal Conservation 12(1): 85-88. 


2. Cortés-Avizanda A., Selva N., Carrete M. and Donázar J.A. (2009). Effects of carrion resources on herbivore spatial distribution are mediated by facultative scavengers. Basic and Applied Ecology 10(3): 265-272. 

1. Cortés-Avizanda A., Ceballos, O. and Donázar, J.A. (2009). Long-term trends in population size and breeding success in the Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) in Northern Spain. Journal of Raptor Research 43(1): 43-49. 

No SCI Journals and Popular Science

8. Cortés-Avizanda, A.  Martín-López, B.,  Ceballos, O., Urmeneta, A. and Pereira, H.M (2018). ¿Sive la percepción social para conservar al Alimoche? Quercus 388:42-43.

7. Donázar, J.A., Cortés-Avizanda, A., Arrondo, E.,Serrano, D., O.Ceballos and Urmeneta, A. (2017). Sobre turismo, veneno y alimoches en Bardenas. Quercus 371:64-65.

6. Cortés-Avizanda, A.  (2016). Redes sociales en buitres. National Geographic (numero Marzo).

5. Cortés-Avizanda, A. (2008, Published in 2010). Pros and cons of vulture restaurants ESU Journal vol 25 No.  1: 19-22.  Invited to submission.

4. Cortés-Avizanda A., Selva N., Carrete M., Serrano, D. and Donázar J.A. (2009). ¿Dónde ubicar un muladar? Quercus 284:28-32.

3. Sanchez-Zapata, J.A., Donázar, J.A., Carrete, M., Tella, J.L., Hiraldo, F., Cortés-Avizanda, A., Selva, N., Margalida, A., Blanco, G., Lemus, J.A., and Blázquez, M. (2008). ¿Ecosistemas asépticos? Muladares y conservación de la biodiversidad. Quercus 268:80-81.

2. Donázar J. A., Ceballos O., Cortés-Avizanda A. and Urmeneta A. (2008). Las Bardenas Reales pierden sus alimoches por culpa del veneno. Quercus 266:60-61

1. Margalida A., García D. and Cortés-Avizanda A. (2007) Factors influencing the breeding density of bearded vultures, Egyptian vultures and griffons vultures in Catalonia (NE Spain): management implications. Animal Biodiversity and Conservation 30 (2):189-200. (Indexed SJR in 2015) 
Book Chapters

6.  Moleón, M., Selva, N., Quaggiotto, M.M., Bailey, D.M., Cortés-Avizanda, A. and DeVault, T.L. (in press) Carrion availability in space and time. In: Olea, P.P., Mateo-Tomás, P., Sánchez-Zapata, J.A. (Ed.)Carrion Ecology and Management. Series: Wildlife Research Monographs.  Springer

5. Cortés-Avizanda, A., Donázar, J. A., and Pereira, H. M. (2015). Top scavengers in a wilder Europe. In: Pereira H.M. and Navarro L. (Ed.)  Rewilding European landscapes . Springer.

4. Donázar, J.A. and Cortés-Avizanda A. (2011) El papel de los vertebrados necrófagos en los ecosistemas mediterráneos. Pags 5-25. Pérez Marín, A y ´González, R. (Codirectores) 2011. El uso ilegal de cebos envenenados: Análisis técnicos-jurídicos. Consejería de medio Ambiente. Junta Andalucía.

3. Selva, N. and Cortés-Avizanda A. (2009) The effects of carcasses and carrion dump sites on communities and ecosystems. In  Donázar, J.A., Margalida, A. and Campión, D. (Ed.). Vultures, feeding stations, and sanitary legislation: a conflict and its consequences from the perspective of conservation biology. Sociedad de Ciencias Aranzadi,  Donostia. ISSN 1698-3807; 29.


2. Donázar, J.A., Cortés-Avizanda A. and Carrete, M. (2009)  The role of trophic resource predictability in the structure of scavenger guilds.  In  Donázar, J.A., Margalida, A. and Campión, D. (Ed.). Vultures, feeding stations, and sanitary legislation: a conflict and its consequences from the perspective of conservation biology. Sociedad de Ciencias Aranzadi,  Donostia. ISSN 1698-3807; 29.


1. Benítez, JR., Cortés-Avizanda, A., Ávila, E. and García, R (2009) Effects of the creation of a supplementary feeding station for the conservation of an Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) population in Andalucía. In  Donázar, J.A., Margalida, A. and Campión, D. (Ed.). Vultures, feeding stations, and sanitary legislation: a conflict and its consequences from the perspective of conservation biology.  Sociedad de Ciencias Aranzadi,  Donostia. ISSN 1698-3807; 29.  


   (please, e-mail me for pdfs and ref. that you need:  cortesavizanda@gmail.com ;  ainara@ebd.csic.es)

Academic and professional history

April 2016-December 2017 Juan de la Cierva Incorporación  Estación Biológica de Doñana (CSIC), Sevilla, España.

January 2015 - March 2016 FCT-Postdoc Research Scholarship at REFER- Biodiversity Chair. CIBIO-InBIO., Portugal.

April 2013- December 2014 FCT-Postdoc Research Scholarship at Theoretical Ecology and Biodiversity Change Group. Centro Biologia Ambiental-Faculdade de Ciencias da Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal.

July-September 2011 and November-December 2011 Postdoc Research Contract at Department of Ecological Modelling (ÖSA) – UFZ, Leipzig, Germany.

2011. PhD Thesis (Doctor Europaeus) “The ecological and Conservation effects of trophic resource predictability: carcasses and vertebrate communities” at Estación Biológica Doñana (CSIC, National Research Council) / Universidad Autónoma Madrid, Spain. "Extraordinary Doctorate Award (top prize for doctoral dissertations in the Spanish universities)"

 2006. Advanced Studies Research in Ecology “Effectiveness of supplementary Feeding stations for avian scavengers’ conservation: effects of design, food availability and competence processes within the guild”. Estación Biológica Doñana (CSIC, National Research Council) / Universidad Autónoma Madrid.

2004. Self-employed biologist. Responsible for projects involving the monitoring of the use of vulture restaurants by endangered scavengers.

2003. Biologist employed at Estación Biológica de Doñana (CSIC). Responsible for the monitoring of the Egyptian Vulture population at the Bardenas Reales Natural Park (northern Spain).

1999 - 2002. Student assistant, Estación Biológica de Doñana (CSIC)

 2002. BSc in Biology at the University of Navarra, Spain

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