Breeding Success of Red-billed Tropicbirds at Pilot Hill, St. Eustatius – Year 3 (2014-2015)
We assessed the breeding success of red-billed tropicbirds (Phaethon aethereus) at Pilot Hill on St. Eustatius, particularly in relation to predation at the nest. We conducted weekly surveys during 2014- 2015 and measured chick and adult morphometrics. Apparent hatching success was 57% and apparent fledging success was 73.7%, with reproductive success 37.8%. Camera traps installed in nesting cavities documented rats opportunistically scavenging eggs left unattended for even short periods of time. In total we confirmed nine predation events by rats at eight individual nesting cavities. Given the importance of St. Eustatius as a nesting site for red-billed tropicbirds, the implementation of a rodent control program is urgently required for the coming season.