Mice kill petrel chicks on Gough island

This video says about itself:

By Ben Dilley, Gough Island, December 2013

Check out this short clip showing the new prion species making a racket in a cave on Gough Island. The new prion was discovered by research team Karen Bourgeois and Sylvain Dromzée who spent 2011-2012 on Gough Island as field assistants for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Percy FitzPatrick Institute.

Broad-billed prions are the most abundant seabirds breeding on Gough, and they have a broad, blackish bill. By comparison, the new species has a narrower, blue-edged bill and breeds at a different time of year. The recent discovery that two species breed on the island three months apart came as a complete surprise! The paper reporting the new prion was published by Peter Ryan et al. in Polar Biology in March 2014.

From Antarctic Science:

30 June 2015

Effects of mouse predation on burrowing petrel chicks at Gough Island


Since 2004 there has been mounting evidence of the severe impact of introduced house mice (Mus musculus L.) killing chicks of burrow-nesting petrels at Gough Island. We monitored seven species of burrow-nesting petrels in 2014 using a combination of infra-red video cameras augmented by burrowscope nest inspections.

All seven camera-monitored Atlantic petrel (Pterodroma incerta Schlegel) chicks were killed by mice within hours of hatching (average 7.2±4.0 hours) with an 87% chick failure rate (n=83 hatchlings). Several grey petrel (Procellaria cinerea Gmelin) chicks were found with mouse wounds and 60% of chicks failed (n=35 hatchlings).

Video surveillance revealed one (of seven nests filmed) fatal attack on a great shearwater (Puffinus gravis O’Reilly) chick and two (of nine) on soft-plumaged petrel (Pterodroma mollis Gould) chicks. Mice killed the chicks of the recently discovered summer-breeding MacGillivray’s prion (Pachyptila macgillivrayi Mathews), with a chick mortality rate of 82% in 2013/14 and 100% in 2014/15. The closely-related broad-billed prion (P. vittata Forster) breeds in late winter and also had a chick mortality rate of 100% in 2014. The results provide further evidence of the dire situation for seabirds nesting on Gough Island and the urgent need for mouse eradication.

Confirmed mouse attacks on Gough and Marion Island seabirds: here.

4 thoughts on “Mice kill petrel chicks on Gough island

  1. Pingback: Rockhopper penguin decline | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: European, worldwide bird news | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Saving millions of Gough island seabirds | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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