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Breeding, survival, and recruitment of Chatham Island pigeon ( Hemiphaga chathamensis )

TitleBreeding, survival, and recruitment of Chatham Island pigeon ( Hemiphaga chathamensis )
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsFlux, IA, Powlesland, RG, Dilks, PJ, Grant, AD
JournalNotornis
Volume48
Issue4
Pagination197-206
Type of Articlepaper
Keywordsbreeding biology, clutch overlap, Hemiphaga chathamensis, population recovery, predator management
Abstract

The Chatham Island pigeon or parea (Hemiphaga chathamensis) is an endangered species of pigeon endemic to the Chatham Islands. Effective conservation management of the Chatham Island pigeon required an understanding of its ecology and identification of the causes of decline. We studied the pigeon in their last remaining stronghold; the south-west of Chatham Island, New Zealand, between July 1991 and December 1994. We describe the nesting behav- iour, nesting success, and the dispersal, survival, and recruitment of juveniles. The study was confounded by the lack of information on predator numbers or outcomes of pigeon nests from before the start of predator control activities within and adjacent to our study area. Despite a previously reported decline in pigeon numbers up until the early 1990s, during this study there was a 3-fold population increase, and only a low level of predation by possums and rats. Other than predation, no factor which might previously have limited the pigeon population was identified. We assume that the trapping and poisoning of pest-mammals since 1989, has been sufficient to allow the population of Chatham Island pigeon to recover.

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