Yelkouan Shearwater - Ecology and Status

Ecology and Status

Yelkouan Shearwaters breed on islands and coastal cliffs in the eastern and central Mediterranean. Most winter in that sea, but small numbers enter the Atlantic in late summer. This species nests in burrows which are only visited at night to avoid predation by large gulls.

This is a gregarious species, which can be seen in large numbers from boats or headlands, especially in autumn. It is under some threat from the development of holiday resorts near its breeding sites, and also from animals such as cats and rats. The Yelkouan Shearwater feeds on fish and molluscs. It follows fishing ships when offal is being thrown.

The study of the Minorcan colony concluded that at least in these westernmost birds, genetic variation was extremely low, suggesting that the Yelkouan Shearwater may have suffered a marked population decline historically and thus, while not threatened judging from its absolute numbers, could be vulnerable to adverse effects of inbreeding.

It was formerly classified as a Species of Least Concern by the IUCN. But new research has shown it to be rarer than it was believed. Consequently, it was uplisted to Near Threatened status in 2008 and Vulnerable in 2012.

Read more about this topic:  Yelkouan Shearwater

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