Record rise in nests of red-billed tropicbirds

ABU DHABI — The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) has announced that its surveys have shown a record increase in the population of red-billed tropicbirds in the country.

By A Staff Reporter

Published: Tue 10 Apr 2007, 8:50 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 1:38 AM

According to extensive nest search and mapping of tropicbird nests carried out by EAD on Jarnein Island, one of Abu Dhabi’s islands, a record number of 217 tropicbird nests were found on the island.

Of the 217 nests, more than 71 per cent were active, with chicks, eggs or adult birds present at the time of observation. The active nests represent nearly 150 per cent increase from previous estimates.

Of the 217 nests, nearly 40 per cent were with grown-up chicks while nearly 28 per cent were with adult birds.

This is the first time that such an extensive nest searching and mapping exercise has been conducted on the island for tropicbirds as the previous estimates of nesting tropicbirds were not based on actual mapping.

According to the EAD, this record increase on Jarnein Island may be attributed to the excellent protection the birds and their breeding habitats are given.

The Island is free of rats and cats, which are considered the two major threats to such crevice and ground nesting birds. Moreover, the island offers an abundance of small size fish as food for the birds.

The studies were carried out by EAD’s Terrestrial Environment Research Centre under its Waterbirds Monitoring Programme. Through this programme, EAD regularly monitors breeding numbers to understand trends in their population.

Tropicbirds can be found mostly near seaside, except for short periods during the breeding season.

In the UAE, they are known only to nest on Jarenin, Zirku and Arzanah Islands.

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