عنوان مقاله [English]
Ecological Niche Models (ENMs) are commonly used in ecology, conservation and biogeography. ENMs use occurrence data and environmental variables to calculate probabilities of the species’ presence in the defined geographic space. In the present study, we used Maxent, 107 occurrence records and nine environmental variables (six bioclimatic variables, altitude, slope and the normalized difference vegetation index) to develop a country level distribution model for Western Rock Nuthatch, Sitta neumayer in Iran. We determined the most important environmental predictors of species distribution in Iran. Results showed that Zagros Mountains and Alborz Mountains are the most suitable habitats for the species in Iran. Results also revealed that Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), altitude, annual precipitation were the most important environmental variables effecting distribution of the species in Iran. In this study, we also modeled past distribution of the species during the Last Glacial Maximum. Results showed that potential distribution of Eastern Rock Nuthatch was different from its current distribution, however, most of the Zagros was suitable for the species during Last Glacial Maximum. Since our results showed that NDVI is the most important predictor of the species’s distribution in Iran and strongly affect its presence, we suggest protection of vegetation cover in the habitat of the species for conservation of Western Rock Nuthatch.