Avocet Recurvirostra avocetta responses to predator activity at Newport Wetland Nature Reserve

Nicholas Bishop, Thomas Dalrymple, Jeremy A. Smith, Richard Facey, Anthony Caravaggi

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    Abstract

    The Newport Wetlands National Nature Reserve holds Wales’ only breeding colony of Pied Avocets Recurvirostra avosetta. However, colony productivity is consistently low due to predation of eggs and chicks by both avian and mammalian predators. Here we describe predator activity, mobbing activity and predation events during the 2019 breeding season using a combination of scan sampling (avian predators and interactions) and camera traps (mammalian predators). Carrion Crow Corvus corone was the most sighted avian predator with 151 (53%) of total sightings and the only species directly depredating Avocet chicks. Carrion Crows elicited a mobbing response 52% of the time, often by individual Avocets. In contrast, six Common Buzzard Buteo buteo were detected all of which were mobbed by multiple Avocets. Brown Rat Rattus norvegicus was the most commonly detected mammal predator, accounting for 84% of total sightings. Mobbing activity was more common at lower temperatures, likely a result of increased predator activity.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalBirds in Wales
    Volume18
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021

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