Nesting seabirds in SE Spain: distribution, numbers and trends in the province of Almería
Keywords:Almería province, breeding pairs, distribution, environmental factors, population trends, seabirds, southeastern Spain
Little is known on the abundance of seabirds breeding in southeastern Spain. This study reports on the distribution, numbers and population trends of breeding colonies of this avian group in this region. Principally from 1996 to 2000, the coast of the province of Almería was surveyed during the breeding season. In 2000, the last year of survey, we counted 1,731 seabird breeding pairs, corresponding to 8 species. The yellow-legged gull Larus cachinnans was the most abundant seabird with more than 50% of the total, followed by Audouin´s gull Larus audouinii, the little tern Sterna albifrons, the black-headed gull Larus ridibundus and the common tern Sterna hirundo. Cory´s shearwater Calonectris diomedea, the shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis and the European storm petrel Hydrobates pelagicus bred in small numbers. The black-headed Gull, yellow-legged gull and common tern showed increasing trends over the last decade. The most important breeding sites were Alborán Island and the sea cliffs of Cabo de Gata, La Higuera and Cabrera. A main factor influencing increasing population trends was the lack of human disturbance at legally protected breeding sites.
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