Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 159, Issue 2, pp 517–525 | Cite as

Demography of a stable population of Crab Plovers wintering in Oman

  • Roeland A. Bom
  • Jan A. van Gils
  • Kees Oosterbeek
  • Symen Deuzeman
  • Jimmy de Fouw
  • Andy Y. Kwarteng
  • Rosemarie Kentie
Original Article

Abstract

The monotypic Crab Plover Dromas ardeola winters around the shores of the Indian Ocean and breeds in colonies on islands around the Arabian Peninsula. The IUCN lists the world population of Crab Plovers as stable, but long-term survey data or demographic estimates regarding the species status are lacking. Here, we use survey and demographic data collected from 2011 to 2015 to study the status of the population of Crab Plover at their most important wintering area: the Barr Al Hikman Peninsula in the Sultanate of Oman. Our survey data showed that the population of Crab Plovers initially increased and then stabilized. The overall observed finite rate of population change (\(\bar{\lambda }_{\text{obs}}\)) was estimated at 1.004 (0.995–1.013 95% Bayesian credible interval [BCI]), indicating a stable population (7000–9000 birds), that is possibly at carrying capacity. Based on mark-recapture data, the mean annual apparent survival probability of Crab Plovers was estimated to be 0.90 (0.85–0.94 95% BCI). We used counts of adults and yearlings to estimate the mean annual fecundity rate at 0.06 young per pair. Using these demographic values, the overall mean expected finite rate of population change (\(\bar{\lambda }_{ \exp }\)) was estimated to be 0.949 (0.899–0.996 95% BCI), so there is a low chance that \(\bar{\lambda }_{\text{obs}}\) and \(\bar{\lambda }_{ \exp }\) overlap. \(\bar{\lambda }_{\text{obs}}\) and \(\bar{\lambda }_{ \exp }\) would completely match if about 450 Crab Plovers immigrate to Barr Al Hikman each year. Regional surveys show that yearling densities are higher closer to the breeding areas, so immigrants could be birds that during their first winter stayed close to their natal area. Our study support the IUCN listing of Crab Plover as stable, but further population-wide monitoring is required. From a conservation point of view it is important to continue monitoring because Crab Plovers breed and winter in a region that is rapidly developing.

Keywords

Apparent survival Arabian Peninsula Barr Al Hikman Dromas ardeola Fecundity Finite range of change Integrated Population Model 

Zusammenfassung

Demografie einer stabilen Population von Reiherläufern im Überwinterungsgebiet im Oman

Der monotypische Reiherläufer Dromas ardeola überwintert an den Küsten des Indischen Ozeans und brütet in Kolonien auf Inseln entlang der Arabischen Halbinsel. Die IUCN führt den Weltbestand an Reiherläufern als stabil, Daten aus Langzeituntersuchungen oder demografische Schätzwerte bezüglich des Status der Art fehlen allerdings. Basierend auf zwischen 2011–2015 gesammelten Erfassungs- und demografischen Daten untersuchen wir hier den Status der Reiherläuferpopulation in ihrem wichtigsten Überwinterungsgebiet: der Barr Al Hikman-Halbinsel im Sultanat Oman. Unsere Daten zeigen, dass die Reiherläuferpopulation zunächst zunahm und sich dann stabil verhielt. Die insgesamt beobachtete finite Populationsänderungsrate (\(\bar{\lambda }_{\text{obs}}\)) wurde auf 1,004 (0995–1,013; 95% Bayes’sches Glaubwürdigkeitsintervall [Bayesian Credible Interval = BCI]) geschätzt, was für eine stabile Population spricht (7.000–9.000 Vögel), welche ihre Kapazität möglicherweise erreicht hat. Auf der Grundlage von Fang-Wiederfang-Daten schätzten wir die durchschnittliche jährliche Überlebenswahrscheinlichkeit der Reiherläufer auf 0.90 (0.85–0.94; 95% BCI). Anhand von Zählungen von adulten und einjährigen Vögeln schätzten wir die jährliche Fruchtbarkeitsrate auf 0,06 Jungvögel pro Paar. Unter Zugrundelegung dieser demografischen Werte schätzten wir die gesamte mittlere erwartete finite Populationsänderungsrate (\(\bar{\lambda }_{ \exp }\)) auf 0.949 (0.899–0.996; 95% BCI), so dass eine geringe Chance besteht, dass \(\bar{\lambda }_{\text{obs}}\) und \(\bar{\lambda }_{ \exp }\) sich überschneiden. Falls in jedem Jahr etwa 450 Reiherläufer nach Barr Al Hikman zuwanderten, würden sich \(\bar{\lambda }_{\text{obs}}\) und \(\bar{\lambda }_{ \exp }\) genau decken. Erfassungen auf regionaler Ebene zeigen, dass die Dichten von Vögeln im ersten Kalenderjahr nahe der Brutgebiete höher sind, so dass es sich bei den Zuwanderern um Vögel handeln könnte, welche ihren ersten Winter in der Nähe ihres Geburtsortes verbracht haben. Unsere Studie bestätigt die Einordnung des Reiherläufers durch die IUCN als stabil, allerdings ist ein populationsweites Monitoring erforderlich. Aus Sicht des Naturschutzes ist eine Fortführung des Monitorings wichtig, da die Reiherläufer in einer sich rasch entwickelnden Region brüten und überwintern.

Notes

Acknowledgements

The presented work relies on the effort of many volunteers that were out on the shabkha or mudflats in the heat of the day to look for colour-ringed Crab Plovers. We thank all observers and, in particular, Irene Landman, Thijs Fijen, Jelle Abma, Jan van de Kam and Leon Kelder. Raymond Klaassen, Peter Olsson, Petter Ohlson and Gabriel Norevik provided indispensable help during catching. We thank Collin Jackson and the Seychelles Islands Foundation for sharing their data on Crab Plover surveys, Giuseppe De Marchi and Pekka Fagel for sharing their fecundity estimates and Mr Bala and Mr Dhakshinamoorthy for reporting the colour-ringed bird from India. Dick Visser prepared the figures. Brett Sandercock, Giuseppe De Marchi and an anonymous reviewer gave excellent comments on previous versions of this manuscript. Our study was financially supported by Shell Development Oman, the Embassy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands in Muscat, the Research Council (TRC) of the Sultanate of Oman (ORG/EBR/12/002 grant awarded to AYK) and by NWO in the Netherlands (ALW Open Programme grant 821.01.001 awarded to JAvG). RK was funded by The Royal Society. Catching and banding of Crab Plovers was carried out under permission of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs, Sultanate of Oman. We are grateful to the assistant Director-General Ms. Thuraya Said Al-Sairiri, Director-General Mr Sulieman Al Akhzami and the former Director-General, Mr Ali Al-Kiyumi for their assistance.

Supplementary material

10336_2018_1529_MOESM1_ESM.docx (3.5 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 3555 kb)

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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roeland A. Bom
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jan A. van Gils
    • 1
  • Kees Oosterbeek
    • 3
  • Symen Deuzeman
    • 3
  • Jimmy de Fouw
    • 1
    • 4
  • Andy Y. Kwarteng
    • 2
  • Rosemarie Kentie
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research Department of Coastal Systems, and Utrecht UniversityDen Burg, TexelThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Remote Sensing and GIS CenterSultan Qaboos UniversityMuscatOman
  3. 3.SOVON Dutch Centre for Field Ornithology, Coastal Ecology TeamDen Burg, TexelThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of Aquatic Ecology and Environmental Biology, Institute for Water and Wetland ResearchRadboud University NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands
  5. 5.Department of ZoologyUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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