Assessment of the Breeding Success of Red-billed Tropicbirds on St. Eustatius
We assessed the breeding success of Red-billed Tropicbirds Phaethon aethereus on St. Eustatius, particularly in relation to predation at the nest. We conducted weekly surveys at five sites during 2012-2013 and measured chick and adult morphometrics. Apparent nest success ranged from 55-100% across five breeding areas, while apparent fledge success ranged from 63-100% at those same locations. We used cameras and baited rat traps to document the presence of predators at nest sites. Predation rates captured on cameras were low (ca. 20 images of predators from ca. 263,000 images over 11 weeks). Cameras documented cats and rats at accessible nests. Although we could not confirm the cause of egg loss or the death of some chicks, the presence of cats and rats suggests that additional effort be expended to accurately measure their impact.
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