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Breeding ecology of the Seychelles Black Parrot Coracopsis barklyi

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Knowledge of breeding ecology is required for many conservation interventions. The Seychelles Black Parrot Coracopsis barklyi, endemic to the island of Praslin, is vulnerable to extinction. We aimed to improve understanding of C. barklyi breeding ecology to aid conservation planning. We present the results of four years of research, including nesting cavity characteristics and availability, reproductive success, breeding parameters, parental behaviour and reproductive strategy. Thirty-six breeding attempts were studied over the four seasons. Nests were mainly located in Coco de Mer palms Lodoicea maldivica. Deeper cavities with more canopy cover were preferred. There may be a shortage of high-quality nesting cavities in intensive breeding seasons. Average clutch size was 2.2 eggs, incubation period was c. 15 d and egg fertility was 71%. Rats were key nest predators, causing the failure of up to 33% of breeding attempts. The probability of nest success was 53%. At least 57% of fledglings survived their first year. This species breeds cooperatively and practices a highly unusual side-by-side copulation. We discuss the implications of the results in the context of former, ongoing and potential conservation measures for C. barklyi including translocation, invasive species management, nest box provisioning, habitat restoration and further research.
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Keywords: avian breeding ecology; breeding success; chick growth; island endemic species; nesting cavity selection; palm forest

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Seychelles Islands Foundation, Victoria, PO Box 853, Mahé, Seychelles 2: Department of Conservation Biology, Workgroup on Endangered Species, Georg-August Universität, Göttingen, Germany

Publication date: September 2, 2014

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