Breeding seabirds of the Chagos Archipelago

In February-March 1996 a complete census of breeding seabirds in the Chagos Archipelago revealed more than 167,000 breeding pairs of 16 species, including all pan-tropical species known to breed in the Indian Ocean. Thus Chagos has the most divers breeding seabird community within this tropical region. Of particular interest are the large colonies of boobies, especially Red-footed boobies Sula sula, since most populations of these species continue to decline dramatically in most other atolls of the Indian Ocean. Results suggest that the seabirds on the Chagos have a regular yearly breeding cycle, with the main breeding season coinciding with the northern winter when the equatorial counter-current is well-developed in the northern part of Chagos. 36 of the 47 islands of the Chagos archipelago remain infested with ship rats Rattus rattus, whose continuing presence remains the foremost important threat to the seabird populations.
Symens Peter .
birds, seabirds, breeding, rats, island area, nest sites