Ravens are a key threat to beach-nesting birds

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Field Ornithology, 2015, 32 (2), pp. 100 - 107
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© Australian Field Ornithology 2015. Depredation of nests by native and introduced predators is contributing to the decline of beach-nesting shorebirds in many parts of Australia. Determining the relative importance of these predators is crucial for designing and implementing appropriate management strategies for shorebird conservation. We deployed and monitored 82 artificial Red-capped Plover Charadrius ruficapillus nests, on six beaches within a 140-km stretch of the New South Wales Lower North Coast, to identify the main predators of beach-nesting shorebird nests and their relative importance. After 18 days, 53 (63%) artificial nests were depredated. Australian Ravens Corvus coronoides and Forest Ravens C. tasmanicus were the chief nest-predators, and were responsible for depredating 40 (49%) nests collectively. Comparatively few nests were depredated by European Red Foxes Vulpes vulpes, which depredated 8 (10%) nests. The rate of depredation (nests depredated/2 days) by ravens was greater than the rate of depredation by foxes (P < 0.05). Other predators preyed upon 5 (5%) nests.
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