The impact of introduced predators on an island endemic, the St Helena Plover, Charadrius sanctaehelenae

F. Burns, N. McCulloch, T. Székely, M. Bolton

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Abstract

We investigated the impact of introduced predators on the productivity of the St Helena Plover Charadrius sanctaehelenae, a shorebird endemic to the South Atlantic island of St Helena. The nest predator species identified have all been introduced to St Helena in the last 510 years, and all are species that are known to be invasive on other islands. The species responsible for taking the largest proportion of eggs was the domestic cat Felis catus, with rats (Rattus rattus or R. norvegicus) and Common Myna Acridotheres tristis taking smaller proportions. Nest survival varied spatially and was correlated with an index of cat density. No relationship was observed between the number of nesting attempts per pair in a year and predator density. The resulting estimates of productivity were insufficient in some areas to allow stable populations to persist locally. Future work should focus on assessing the population level impacts of current and reduced predator densities to St Helena Plovers, and understanding the influence of resource availability and habitat structure on the densities and impacts of predators.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-135
Number of pages11
JournalBird Conservation International
Volume23
Issue number2
Early online date19 May 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013

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