Low nest survival of a breeding shorebird in Bohai Bay, China

Pinjia Que, Yajing Chang, Luke Eberhart-Phillips, Yang Liu, Tamás Székely, Zhengwang Zhang

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25 Citations (SciVal)


Nest survival plays an important role in avian demography because of its influence on both individual fitness and population growth. It is also known to vary within species due to local factors such as climate, predation, substrate, and disturbance, among others. Therefore, an understanding of the relative influence of local factors on nest survival is of critical importance for the formulation of appropriate avian conservation and management policies/programs. Over the past 50 years the Yellow Sea has lost almost 65 % of its original intertidal habitats due to land reclamation and development. There has also been a concomitant and rapid decline in the populations of Kentish plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) in East Asia, but the proximate causes of this decline are poorly understood. To gain a better understanding of this conservation issue, we investigated Kentish plover nest survival in Bohai Bay, China, using Program MARK to model the daily survival rate (DSR) of 417 nests. We found that in terms of nest survival, that for the Kentish plover populations in Bohai Bay [0.925 ± 0.004 (±95 % confidence interval)] is the lowest reported worldwide for this species. The most common cause of nest failure was related to anthropogenic disturbance. We determined that nests occupying salt crystallization habitat had the highest hatching success and that initiation date, nest age, and nest density had quadratic effects on DSR. If low nest survival persists for consecutive years, fecundity will unlikely compensate for adult mortality, resulting in dramatic population declines of plovers in Bohai Bay. We therefore recommend that the Local Authority managers responsible for local environmental management act accordingly to create protected alternative nesting habitat for plovers in this region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-307
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Ornithology
Issue number1
Early online date1 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2015


  • Charadrius alexandrinus
  • Conservation
  • Kentish plover
  • Land reclamation
  • Nest density
  • Predation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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