Populations and trends of Canadian Arctic seabirds

  • Gaston A
  • Mallory M
  • Gilchrist H
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Canadas eastern Arctic (Nunavut and Arctic QuebecNunavik, N of 60) supports large numbers of seabirds in summer. Seabird breeding habitat in this region includes steep, rocky coasts and low-lying coasts backed by lowland sedge-meadow tundra. The former areas sup-port colonial cliff- and scree-nesting seabirds, such as murres and fulmars; the latter inland or coastal seabirds, such as terns, gulls and jaegers. The region supports some 4 million breeding seabirds, of which the most numerous are thick-billed murres (Uria lomvia; 75%), black guillemots (Cepphus grylle; 9%), northern fulmars (Fulmarus gla-cialis; 8%) and black-legged kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla; 6%). The majority of Arctic seabirds breed in a small number of very large colonies (10,000 birds), but there are also substantial numbers of non-colonial or small-col-ony breeding populations that are scattered more widely (e.g. terns, guillemots). Population trends among Canadian Arctic seabirds over the past few decades have been vari-able, with no strongly negative trends except for the rare ivory gull (Pagophila eburnea): this contrasts with nearby Greenland, where several species have shown steep declines. Although current seabird trends raise only small cause forconcern, climateameliorationmay enable increased development activities in the north, potentially posing threats to some seabirds on their breeding grounds.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Distribution
  • Nunavik
  • Nunavut
  • Populations
  • Seabirds
  • Trends

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  • Anthony J. Gaston

  • Mark L. Mallory

  • H. Grant Gilchrist

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