Breeding biology of the endangered Mauritius Olive White-eye Zosterops chloronothos
AbstractBreeding biology of the endangered Mauritius Olive White-eyeZosterops chloronothos,the least known extant species of the endemic Mauritian avifauna, was studied for three consecutive breeding seasons between 1998 and 2001. Fifteen territories were monitored each year. Six nests were found and closely monitored. Prior to this study, only two nesting episodes had been documented. Nest observations revealed that both male and female were involved in incubation, brooding and feeding of the young at both the nestling and fledgling stage. One nest was successful (this being the first observation of a successful nest for this species) with fledging and juvenile dependency periods of 14 and 61 days, respectively. The remaining five nests were depredated, with evidence suggesting predation by the introduced Ship Rat Rattus rattus. Five breeding pairs each produced a single fledgling during the three-year period and no pair produced more than one fledgling. Targetted poisoning and trapping of nest predators on the main island of Mauritius and translocation of Olive White-eyes to predator-free islands should be implemented as conservation measures. Further ecological studies of the Mauritius Olive White-eye are sorely needed to direct conservation management of this declining species.
Ostrich 2005, 76(1&2): 1–7