Living Norway P Honsefuglportalen

Hønsefuglportalen: Common e-infrastructure, field protocols and coordination of tetraonid line transect sampling in Norway

These data are collected as part of an ongoing line transect survey program targeting tetraonids (gamebirds of subfamily Tetraoninae), in particular willow ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus).

Study area

The project “Hønsefuglportalen” is covering relevant ecosystems across mainland Norway, and currently line transect surveys are carried out in 15 counties and more than 80 municipalities. Total effort recorded in 2017 was more than 7500km of line transect surveys, with more than 30.000 ptarmigans (willow and rock ptarmigan) recorded along the transect lines. Most of the surveys are carried out in willow ptarmigan habitat (i.e. sub-alpine birch forest habitat), but forest grouse and rock ptarmigan habitat are also surveyed to a lesser extent.


Hønsefuglportalen was launched in 2013 to 1) coordinate local and regional tetraonid line transect survey initiatives to ensure implementation of common field protocols, analytical approaches and study designs, 2) to provide common e-infrastructure for data management and curation, 3) serve as a meeting point for further improvements of the line transect survey program as well as to provide a common meeting place for researchers and natural resource managers. Currently, field protocols are standardized among all participants of the program, and the parties are working to ensure all field workers have gone through adequate training programs. However, Hønsefuglportalen is facilitating collaboration among local and regional programs and was not initially designed as national monitoring program for grouse species. Thus, both effort and study design (in terms of line length and placement) may vary among study sites and regions. In addition, this resulted in considerable changes in local and regional study designs across the monitoring period. In general, Hønsefuglportalen (and the associated activities) could be regarded a structured citizen science program, intermediate to an unstructured citizen science program and a regular monitoring program. The main motivation for establishing the local and regional line transect survey programs was to obtain updated information about trends in abundance, in relation to harvest management. Later, including data collection of other main drivers of tetraonid dynamics (such as small rodents) along the transect lines have expanded the range of ecological questions that could be addressed with these data. The data from the program has formed the basis of a range of student theses and scientific papers.


The program has been funded by several sources, following annual or multiyear contracts. In general, the landowners carries all the cost related to organization and actual performance of field work. In addition, the Environmental Agency of Norway ( have supported the work through a series of contracts to NINA since 2012. In addition, involved landowners are funding parts of the operating costs associated with running the infrastructure. Involved research institutions are using strategic funding to support the program.

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Data Collections

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