Movements of three alcid species breeding sympatrically in Saint Pierre and Miquelon, northwestern Atlantic Ocean

  • Karine DelordEmail author
  • Christophe Barbraud
  • David Pinaud
  • Bruno Letournel
  • Baptiste Jaugeon
  • Herlé Goraguer
  • Pascal Lazure
  • Hervé Lormée
Original Article


Among seabirds, alcids are particularly sensitive to bycatch in fisheries and oil pollution, yet their distribution at sea remains scarcely known in most of their breeding areas. GPS telemetry data of fifteen individuals of alcids (5 Razorbills 6 Common Murres and 4 Puffins) were analyzed to determine their distribution during the breeding period of 2016 at Saint Pierre and Miquelon Archipelago (SPM). Two analytical methods (threshold and a switching state-space model) were used to identify behavioral modes and foraging areas. We compared foraging movements and estimated the overlap between the species. Distribution and foraging covered an area located between SPM and Newfoundland. Our results revealed that the three species headed northward of their breeding colony, targeting coastal waters. Nonetheless, the three species differed in their habitat distribution as well as in their space-use sharing. There was limited overlap between the foraging zones of the three species and a gillnet fishery targeting Atlantic salmon. Identifying alcids habitat use is imperative to the successful management and survival of these marine species especially since the distribution areas coincide with fishing pressure.


Telemetry Behavioral models Animal movement Distribution overlap Fratercula arctica Alca torda Uria aalge 


Bewegungsmuster dreier auf Saint-Pierre und Miquelon im nordwestlichen Atlantik sympatrisch brütender Alkenvogelarten

Unter den Seevögeln reagieren Alkenvögel besonders empfindlich auf Beifang durch die Fischerei und auf Ölverschmutzung. Doch die Verbreitung dieser Vögel auf See ist in den meisten ihrer Brutgebiete immer noch kaum bekannt. GPS-Telemetriedaten von 15 Individuen aus der Familie der Alkenvögel (5 Tordalke, 6 Trottellummen, 4 Papageientaucher) wurden analysiert, um ihre Verbreitung während der Brutzeit 2016 um die Inselgruppe Saint-Pierre und Miquelon (SPM) zu bestimmen. Zwei Analysemethoden (eng. threshold & switching state-space model) wurden zur Identifizierung von Verhaltensweisen und Nahrungssuchgebieten genutzt. Wir verglichen Bewegungsmuster während der Nahrungssuche und schätzten ihre Überschneidungen zwischen den Arten ein. Verbreitung und Nahrungssuchgebiete umfassten den Bereich zwischen SPM und Neufundland. Unsere Ergebnisse zeigten, dass alle drei Arten in Richtung der Küstengewässer nördlich ihrer Brutkolonien zogen. Dennoch unterschieden sich die drei Arten in ihrer Verteilung im Habitat und in der gemeinsamen Raumnutzung. Es gab nur geringe Überschneidungen zwischen den Nahrungssuchgebieten der drei Arten und einer Stellnetzfischerei, die auf Atlantischen Lachs abzielt. Die Identifizierung der Habitatnutzung von Alkenvögeln ist für das erfolgreiche Management und das Überleben dieser marinen Arten, vor allem seitdem die Verbreitungsgebiete mit dem Befischungsdruck zusammentreffen, zwingend erforderlich.



The authors are grateful to Richard Martin (Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage-ONCFS), Jean Bouilleau (ONCFS) for their help in field operations and Lina Gouichiche for a preliminary data exploration. We thank K. Heerah and S. Bertrand for helpful advice on the HMM analyses. We thank two anonymous referees for constructive comments on earlier drafts.

Author contributions

Study design: HL, CB, KD fieldwork: HL, CB, KD, BL, data analysis and processing: KD, KD wrote the text and all authors edited and revised the manuscript, gave final approval for publication and agreed to be held accountable for the content therein.


The study was funded by Direction des Territoires, de l’Alimentation et de la Mer de Saint Pierre et Miquelon (FR) and the European Program BEST 2.0.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution or practice at which the studies were conducted. All capture and handling procedures were in accordance with the permits provided by the competent Authority (French Ministry of Environment, Energy and Sea).

Supplementary material

10336_2019_1725_MOESM1_ESM.docx (503 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 502 kb)


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Copyright information

© Deutsche Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre d’Études Biologiques de Chizé, UMR 7372 du CNRS-La Rochelle UniversitéVilliers-en-BoisFrance
  2. 2.ONCFS, Service départemental de Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Pierre et MiquelonFrance
  3. 3.Direction des Territoires de l’Alimentation et de la Mer-SAMPSaint Pierre et MiquelonFrance
  4. 4.IFREMER Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Pierre et MiquelonFrance
  5. 5.IFREMER, Univ. Brest, CNRS, IRD, Laboratoire d’Océanographie Physique et Spatiale (LOPS), IUEMBrestFrance
  6. 6.ONCFS, Station ONCFS de ChizéVilliers-en-BoisFrance

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