Apparent survival, reproduction, and population growth estimation of a Kentish plover population in the Canary Islands

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Abstract

The increase of the tourism and urbanization of vast areas of dunes and beaches has been accompanied by an increase in the level of disturbances to many shorebirds, especially on those species which depend on such habitats to breed. The European Kentish plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) population is declining, also in the Canarian archipelago, one of the most important touristic destinations worldwide. Using data from an intense monitoring program on Lanzarote Island and the nearby La Graciosa islet (hereafter, both referred as Lanzarote), we aimed to (1) estimate the breeding output and survival and (2) use these parameter estimates to build a population model to assess the long-term growth rate of the population and evaluate, accordingly, its conservation status. Our studied population presents a relatively high breeding success although, thereafter, the first-year apparent survival is low. Even though adult apparent survival rates are reasonably high, these seem insufficient to compensate for the low survival rates of the first-year birds. In this sense, we found a negative growth rate according to a population model estimating an annual loss equivalent to 20% (95% confidence interval: 6–35%). Local studies to account for the effects of human disturbance caused by tourist industry on survival, breeding rates, and demography are required to develop precise conservation actions for the Kentish plover population in Lanzarote.

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Tejera, G., Amat, J. A., Rodríguez, B., & Arizaga, J. (2022). Apparent survival, reproduction, and population growth estimation of a Kentish plover population in the Canary Islands. European Journal of Wildlife Research, 68(4). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10344-022-01601-x

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