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El hornero

Print version ISSN 0073-3407On-line version ISSN 1850-4884


YORIO, Pablo. Population and conservation status of terns and skuas breeding in coastal Argentina. Hornero [online]. 2005, vol.20, n.1, pp.75-93. ISSN 0073-3407.

Three tern and two skua species breed along coastal Argentina. The South American Tern (Sterna hirundinacea), the Cayenne Tern (Thalasseus sandvicensis eurygnatha) and the Royal Tern (Thalasseus maximus) differ in their distribution and abundance. During the last 15 years, 40 South American Tern breeding sites were identified, while 18 and 12 breeding sites have been reported for the Cayenne Tern and the Royal Tern, respectively. The frequent changes in breeding location between years have hindered the proper estimation of their total breeding population for the Argentine coast so far. Since the early 1990 decade, a total of 31 and 15 breeding sites of the Brown Skua (Catharacta antarctica) and the Chilean Skua (Catharacta chilensis), respectively, have been reported. Both skuas show a relatively small total breeding population. Terns and skuas are among the least studied seabirds in Argentina, and even basic aspects of the breeding biology of skuas are still unknown. The distribution and abundance of these terns and skuas is updated, and information on population estimates, both published and unpublished, is reviewed. In addition, aspects of the biology of terns (such as those related to their breeding cycles, feeding ecology and habitat requirements), which could be useful for the development of monitoring programs, action plans and regional conservation strategies, are reviewed. Finally, an evaluation of the current conservation status and management issues and a list of recommendations are presented.

Keywords : Argentina; breeding populations; Catharacta antarctica; Catharacta chilensis; conservation; seabirds; skuas; Sterna hirundinacea; terns; Thalasseus maximus; Thalasseus sandvicensis.

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