Download The Arctic Skua: A study of the ecology and evolution of a by Peter O'Donald PDF

By Peter O'Donald

This e-book describes the result of a long term research of the ecology, evolutionary genetics and sociobiology of a seabird, the Arctic Skua. This species is polymorphic: the birds exhibit one among 3, genetically diverse different types of plumage - faded, intermediate and darkish. The types range in frequency from predominantly light within the north to darkish within the south. The learn was once undertaken with the purpose of explaining how traditional and sexual choice act to keep up all 3 sorts of skua in its populations. the implications convey that traditional choice for faded is balanced by means of sexual choice for intermediate and darkish. types derived from Darwin's theories of lady selection and sexual choice in monogamous birds healthy the breeding facts of the Arctic Skua. Darwibn's perspectives on sexual choice are totally proven. The learn produced unique facts on breeding ecology, demography, inhabitants law, sexual behaviour and territoriality. A bankruptcy on feeding ecology is usually integrated within the publication, which provides a whole and mostly unique account of the inhabitants ecology and sociobiology of a unmarried species of poultry.

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Extra resources for The Arctic Skua: A study of the ecology and evolution of a seabird

Sample text

C. C. C. C. C. C. C. Report) refers to Peter Kinnear's observations which he describes in a Report to the Nature Conservancy Council. J. Gordon also carried out surveys of Arctic Skuas for the Nature Conservancy in 1957 and 1964, counting 13 and 17 pairs. estimates of about 130 pairs in 1960 and 160 pairs in 1968, rising to Furness' estimate of 180 pairs in 1974 and our own estimate of 300 pairs in 1975 obtained by marking all nests found during the breeding season. The small colony on Noss, situated close to the Warden's cottage, is easily counted.

Generally, however, these traps cause little disturbance in the colony: no hide is necessary and they are set up in two or three minutes. Several traps can be used simultaneously. We often set up three traps in three different parts of the colony. Each trap could then be observed at regular intervals through binoculars. With luck three birds might thus be caught in half an hour. By using these traps we could ring almost all the adult birds in the colony. The colony had expanded from 67 pairs in 1961 to 106 pairs in 1973.

On this basis, the Faeroe population must be a large one. Arctic Skuas breed throughout the coastal regions of the Northern Hemisphere between the latitudes of 60°N and 80°N. 3 shows the approximate limits of their breeding range. They are certainly common in Alaska, for large numbers have been seen on migration (Dean, Valkenburg & Magoun, 1976). They are reported as occurring widely in Greenland, Spitzbergen and the USSR. The reports give no idea of any population sizes. The world population of Arctic Skuas cannot even be guessed at to any order of magnitude.

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