African Journal of Marine Science

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Estimates of numbers of kelp gulls and Kerguelen and Antarctic terns breeding at the Prince Edward Islands, 1996/1997–2008/2009

PA Whittington, RJM Crawford, BM Dyer, PG Ryan


Breeding numbers of Laridae and other surface-nesting seabirds have been monitored at sub-Antarctic Marion Island since 1996/1997 and counts of breeding birds were made at nearby Prince Edward Island in December 2001 and December 2008. Four species are regular breeders at the islands: Subantarctic skua Catharacta antarctica, kelp gull Larus dominicanus, Antarctic tern Sterna vittata and Kerguelen tern S. virgata. The latter three species currently each have populations of below 150 breeding pairs at the islands. Kelp gull numbers appear to be relatively stable though they may have decreased since the 1980s. Kerguelen tern numbers decreased and then recovered at Marion Island, but numbers of the species have declined at Prince Edward Island and it maintains a tenuous foothold there. The small Antarctic tern population appears to be stable.

Keywords: Antarctic tern; kelp gull; Kerguelen tern; population trend; Prince Edward Islands

African Journal of Marine Science 2009, 31(3): 439–444

AJOL African Journals Online