Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Critically Endangered Seabirds Not Finding Mates

Date:
April 29, 2008
Source:
Birdlife International
Summary:
A study into one of the world's rarest seabirds provides knowledge that could help avoid extinction. Molecular analysis of the Critically Endangered Magenta Petrel Pterodroma magentae (also known as the Chatham Island Taiko) discovered that 95% of non-breeding adults were male. This suggests that critically low population levels may be causing male birds difficulty in attracting a mate. Their calls are too spread out to attract the infrequent females which pass by.

The Critically Endangered Magenta Petrel is one of the world’s rarest seabirds.
Credit: Steve N G Howell

A study into one of the world’s rarest seabirds provides knowledge that could help avoid extinction. Molecular analysis of the Critically Endangered Magenta Petrel Pterodroma magentae (also known as the Chatham Island Taiko) discovered that 95% of non-breeding adults were male. This suggests that critically low population levels may be causing male birds difficulty in attracting a mate. Their calls are too spread out to attract the infrequent females which pass by. Conservationists are planning to increase the male Magenta Petrel’s pulling power by creating a new breeding colony within a predator-proof fence.

Related Articles


Magenta Petrel was rediscovered in 1978 on Chatham Island, New Zealand, 111 years after it was first collected at sea. The species has undergone an estimated historical decline of 80% over 45 years. The primary cause is introduced species – such as pigs, cats, Weka and rodents - which predate the petrels and compete for their nesting burrows. There are now thought to be between 8 and 15 breeding pairs left in the world.

Male and female Magenta Petrels look extremely similar, and are difficult to distinguish by sight alone. Scientists collected blood samples from almost the entire known living population over a 20 year period. This allowed the team to distinguish gender accurately using DNA sexing techniques.

The sex-ratio of males to females was approximately even in petrel chicks and breeding adults. However, 95% of non-breeding birds were found to be male. This finding suggests that unpaired males may be having difficulty in attracting females to burrows.

Conservationists are helping to increase the petrel’s density by focusing birds within the Sweetwater Secure Breeding Site. This is being achieved by translocating chicks, and by using calls to attract adult petrels to the refuge. Eight chicks were successfully moved and fledged last year, and The Chatham Island Taiko Trust was established in 1998 to provide legal status to the continuing work.

Scientists are hoping to use knowledge of male behaviour traits to make the plan work. “It has been found in other petrel species – such as Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus, Cory’s Shearwater Calonectris diomedea, and Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans - that males return most frequently to the site where they were reared as a chick”, commented Ben Lascelles BirdLife’s Marine IBA Research Assistant. By using the DNA sexing technique to slightly favour male chicks for translocation, the team hope to increase the numbers of birds returning as adult breeders to the refuge.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Birdlife International. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Birdlife International. "Critically Endangered Seabirds Not Finding Mates." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080428080356.htm>.
Birdlife International. (2008, April 29). Critically Endangered Seabirds Not Finding Mates. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080428080356.htm
Birdlife International. "Critically Endangered Seabirds Not Finding Mates." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080428080356.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins