ESR 2:15-20 (2006)  -  doi:10.3354/esr002015

Breeding seabirds in the British Virgin Islands

Andrew McGowan1,*, Annette C. Broderick1, Shannon Gore2, Geoff Hilton3, Nancy K. Woodfield4, Brendan J. Godley1

1Centre for Ecology and Conservation, University of Exeter, Cornwall Campus, Tremough, Penryn TR10 9EZ, UK
2BVI Conservation and Fisheries Department, PO Box 3323, Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands
3Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, The Lodge, Sandy SG19 2DL, UK
4BVI National Parks Trust, PO Box 860, Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

ABSTRACT: Caribbean seabirds are subject to numerous threats, and population levels are thought to be at a fraction of historical levels. Despite being a well-known taxonomic group there is still a paucity of data for most seabird species on many of the Caribbean islands. We carried out detailed surveys of the seabird breeding populations in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) during the breeding seasons of 2004 and 2005. We surveyed 42 different islands and cays over the 2 yr with 60 and 63% of these having at least one breeding seabird species in 2004 and 2005, respectively. A total of 15 species of breeding seabird was recorded, one of which, the gull-billed tern Sterna nilotica, was previously thought to have been extirpated. Two species, roseate tern Sterna dougallii and magnificent frigatebird Fregata magnificens, had globally significant colonies in the BVI and a further 8 species had a regionally significant population in the BVI. We discuss our findings within a global and regional conservation context and provide recommendations for ensuring the continued existence of BVI seabird populations.


KEY WORDS: Birds · Caribbean · Conservation · Monitoring · British Virgin Islands


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