[order] PROCELLARIIFORMES | [family] Procellariidae | [latin] Puffinus yelkouan | [authority] Acerbi, 1827 | [UK] Yelkouan Shearwater | [FR] Puffin de Mediterranee | [DE] Mittelmeer-Sturmtaucher | [ES] Pardela Mediterranea | [NL] Yelkouanpijlstormvogel
Until recently the shearwaters were devided in two genera Calonectris and Puffinus, but based on dna-analysis Penhallurick and Wink (2004) have proposed a splitting of the shearwaters into three genera: Calonectris for the large shearwaters of the Northern Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the waters around Japan, Ardenna for a group of large Southern Hemisphere breeders and Puffinus for the smaller shearwaters such as the Manx’ group, Audubon’s and Little Shearwaters. This new taxonomy is now widely accepted, but not by all and is stil subject of discussion.
36cm. Medium-sized shearwater with blackish-brown upperparts contrasting sharply with almost entirely white underparts and underwings. Underwings only dark on tips, tailing edge and diagonal band across secondary coverts. Some brown on flanks, axillaries, undertail and underwing coverts. Feet are proportionally larger and extend slightly beyond tail, thus appearing longer-tailed at long range. Similar ssp. Similar to P.puffinus but with browner upperparts, deeper-chested appearance, somewhat larger more attunuated body and longer wings. Flight and jizz more similar to P.mauretanicus which darkest individuals may closely resemble. Voice: Similar to P.puffinus; a raucous cacophony of cackles and howls but more drawling and with drawn-out falsetto notes.
Atlantic Ocean : Mediterranean. Puffinus yelkouan is endemic to the Mediterranean basin, but its precise distribution is not well known and numbers are disputed1. It is known to breed in Spain (Balearic Islands) (100-150 pairs), France (395-536 pairs), Italy (7000-14.000 pairs), Malta (1400-1560 pairs), Greece (1000-2000 pairs), Bulgaria (0-10 pairs), Albania (1-10 pairs), Croatia (250-300 pairs), Turkey (1000-30.000 pairs) and Algeria (8-10 pairs)
Mostly pelagic, breed on rocky cliffs providing burwwos or cervices for nestbuilding.
The species visit land for breeding from September to late June. Eggs are laid from the beginning of March and the last chicks do not fledge until July. Reproductive success has been measured in three accessible colonies. Results vary from 46 to 77,7 % (the last one after a rat cont rol campaign), with an average of 66,8 % by pair. Females lay a single egg at a nest site (a burrow, a crevice or directly on bare ground) during February-March, and incubation lasts ca. 50 days. Chick
rearing period extends for ca. 65-70 days.
Fish, mostly small; also cephalopods, small crustaceans, and surface floating offal. Feeds by day by pursuit-plunging, pursuit-diving, and by surface-seizing; in varying numbers from single birds to small flocks.
Video Yelkouan Shearwater
copyright: Stuart Fisher
Although the population is probably larger than some estimates suggest, reports of extremely low breeding success at several key breeding colonies indicate that current declines may accelerate markedly when current breeders approach the end of their life cycle, and may be moderately rapid over three generations, hence justifying its precautionary uplisting to Near Threatened. Declines have probably been ongoing for many years, and are projected to continue.
Puffinus yelkouan is endemic to the Mediterranean basin, but its precise distribution is not well known and numbers are disputed. It is known to breed in Spain (Balearic Islands) (100-150 pairs), France (395-536 pairs), Italy (7,000-14,000 pairs), Malta (1,400-1,560 pairs), Greece (1,000-2,000 pairs), Bulgaria (0-10 pairs), Albania (1-10 pairs), Croatia (250-300 pairs), Turkey (1,000-30,000 pairs) and Algeria (8-10 pairs)1, giving a global estimate of 10,815-53,574 pairs. Further breeding grounds may exist off the coasts of Turkey and Tunisia, where thousands of birds congregate during the breeding season. The populations in Italy, Greece, Albania and Croatia are thought to be stable, but the Maltese colonies are decreasing. The few known colonies are small, and all harbour populations of introduced rats and/or cats, with several colonies having become extinct over the last 50 years. Most worryingly, breeding success at many colonies appears to be extremely low, which suggests significant future declines are likely. The species is consequently classified as Near Threatened, but more research is needed into its population size, trends and threats.
Migratory. Race Yelkouan apparently moves NE into Black Sea and disperses around Mediterranean, perhaps occurring in good numbers W to Gibraltar. Race mauretanicus tends to leave Mediterranean: moves N to coast of France and North Sea, but some birds move S towards South Africa; part of population fairly sedentary.
Title The endemic Mediterranean yelkouan shearwater
Puffinus yelkouan: distribution, threats and a plea
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Author(s): Karen Bourgeois and Eric Vidal
Abstract: The endemic Mediterranean yelkouan shearwater Puff..[more]..
Source: Fauna & Flora International, Oryx, 42(2), 187-19, 2008
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Title Tracking of the Yelkouan Shearwater
Author(s): MEDIA BRIEFING
Abstract: Over the past six months, the EU LIFE Yelkouan She..[more]..
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Title How can the Yelkouan shearwater survive feral cat predation?
A meta-population structure as a solution?
Author(s): Elsa Bonnaud et al
Abstract: The Yelkouan shearwater, Puffinus yelkouan, is an ..[more]..
Source: Popul Ecol (2009) 51:261-270
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