Breeding success of Cory’s Shearwater in relation to nest characteristics and predation by alien mammals


Authors: Beneharo RODRÍGUEZ, Felipe SIVERIO, Yarci ACOSTA and Airam RODRÍGUEZ


Published: Volume 69.1, January 2022. Pages 115-128.

Language: English

Keywords: breeding population, conservation, introduced predators, introduced species, invasive species, marine birds, seabird and threat


Procellariiformes are one of the most threatened groups of birds of the world so knowledge of nesting habitat and factors affecting breeding rates are vital issues for their conservation. Although Cory’s Shearwater Calonectris borealis is a well-studied seabird species on the whole, information on the relationship between its breeding parameters and nest site characteristics is quite limited. To address this gap, during 2017-2019, we conducted a study on its breeding performance on Tenerife, the largest and the most densely populated island of the Canarian archipelago. we constructed generalized linear mixed models to evaluate the potential effects of nest features on breeding performance. Two variables explained breeding success: the distance from the nest to the nearest paved road, and the presence of pebbles at the entrance of the nest-burrow, which correlated negatively and positively with breeding success, respectively. The majority of failures occurred during the incubation period. Breeding failures were mainly related to egg abandonment and rat predation upon eggs or chicks. Effective measures mitigating human-instigated disturbance (e.g. control of dogs, rats and feral cat populations, and reducing light pollution), together with studies on factors affecting demographic parameters, are needed to guarantee the long-term conservation of Cory’s Shearwater and other seabird species on the main Canary Islands.

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