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1 March 2002 THE CHANGING STATUS OF MARINE BIRDS BREEDING AT SAN BENEDICTO ISLAND, MEXICO
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Abstract

We reviewed the status of the breeding marine birds on San Benedicto Island, Mexico, based on >100 years of published observations and seven of our own surveys conducted between 1978 and 2000. We found that there have been marked changes in the island avifauna with two main trends evident. First, a volcanic eruption destroyed much of the island in 1952. The Wedge-tailed Shearwater (Puffinus pacificus; estimated breeding population 1,000 pairs), Townsend's Shearwater (Puffinus auricularis; probable breeder, small numbers), and Red-footed Booby (Sula sula; 60 pairs) historically had much larger populations, but they apparently never fully recovered from the eruption. The Masked Booby (Sula dactylatra; 2,185 pairs), however, has become much more abundant perhaps due to changes in the vegetation. The second trend is that within the last three decades at least two, and possibly four, species from the central Pacific have colonized the island. The Laysan Albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis; 12 pairs) started breeding in the late 1980s; Black-footed Albatross (Phoebastria nigripes; 1 pair) in 2000. Red-tailed Tropicbirds (Phaethon rubricauda; probable breeder, 10 pairs) may have started breeding in the 1980s, and at least some of the breeding Brown Boobies (Sula leucogaster; 300 pairs) are from central Pacific populations. The reason(s) for this influx of central Pacific species is unknown, but likely involves changes in the marine environment. Other breeding species include the Red-billed Tropicbird (Phaethon aethereus; 200 pairs), Nazca Booby (Sula granti; 50 pairs), Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor; 165 pairs), and Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens; 5 pairs).

ROBERT L. PITMAN and LISA T. BALLANCE "THE CHANGING STATUS OF MARINE BIRDS BREEDING AT SAN BENEDICTO ISLAND, MEXICO," The Wilson Bulletin 114(1), 11-19, (1 March 2002). https://doi.org/10.1676/0043-5643(2002)114[0011:TCSOMB]2.0.CO;2
Received: 21 June 2001; Accepted: 1 April 2002; Published: 1 March 2002
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