Effect of refuge supplement on Audouin's gull chick survival
Keywords:Larus audouinii, chick survival, refuge supplement, breeding success, western Mediterranean
One of the main threats to Audouin´s gull (Larus audouinii) at Chafarinas Islands is predation on eggs and chicks by the yellow-legged gull (Larus cachinnans). During the 1999 and 2000 breeding seasons we tested the effects of supplementary refuge availability on chick survival. Well before the laying period, nine adjacent enclosures were erected inside Audouin´s gull´s breeding grounds and some of them were supplied with artificial refuges. Our results showed significantly greater chick survival in the enclosures with artificial refuges than in control ones. In 2000, an overall lower breeding success of Audouin´s gull and a dilution of the refuge effect were observed. These results were probably related to food-shortage that year. We suggest that, along with other factors, an increase in refuge availability may significantly enhance Audouin´s gull chick survival.
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