Synthèse des observations sur l'avifaune marine des îles Matthew et Hunter (Parc naturel de la mer de Corail), 1973-2018

Abstract : Twelve ornithological missions to the Matthew and Hunter volcanic islands took place during the period 1973-2018. The data collected on the diversity, abundance and reproductive status of 14 seabird species are compiled. The seabirds nesting on Matthew Island were the black-winged petrel Pterodroma nigripennis, the wedge-tailed shearwater Ardenna pacifica, the red-tailed tropicbird Phaethon rubricauda, the masked booby Sula dactylatra, the brown booby S. leucogaster, the brown noddy A. stolidus, the grey noddy Anous albivitta, the sooty tern Onychoprion fuscatus, and possibly the white tern Gygis alba. An undetermined storm petrel, perhaps the Polynesian storm petrel Nesofregetta fuliginosa may also breed on Matthew Island. Seabirds nesting on Hunter Island were the Herald petrel Pterodroma heraldica, the black-winged petrel, the wedge-tailed shearwater, the red-tailed tropicbird, the masked booby, the brown booby, the red-footed booby S. sula, the lesser frigatebird Fregata ariel, the great frigatebird F. minor, the black noddy Anous minutus, the brown noddy, the grey noddy, and the white tern. Brown noddies bred exclusively during the austral summer, as did the black-winged petrel and the wedge-tailed shearwater, while the Herald petrel and the two frigatebirds seemed to prefer winter. The red-tailed tropicbird, the three boobies, the grey noddy and the sooty tern appeared to breed throughout the year. The main threats to seabirds identified on these two islands were introduced grass Cenchrus echinatus, Polynesian rat Rattus exulans (on Hunter Island), disturbance due to human activities, trampling of burrows, military shooting practice, helicopter movements, as well as night lights on land and on board ships moored near the seabird colonies. We recommend an end to shooting practice and to the use of helicopters above both islands, a strict limitation of the number of visitors and the length of visits to the islands, as well as the eradication of the Polynesian rat on Hunter Island.
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Philippe Borsa, Julien Baudat-Franceschi. Synthèse des observations sur l'avifaune marine des îles Matthew et Hunter (Parc naturel de la mer de Corail), 1973-2018. [Rapport de recherche] Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD), France. 2019. ⟨ird-02300763v3⟩

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