Author: Thibault, Jean-Claude; Bretagnolle, Vincent
Title: Breeding seabirds of Gambier Island, Eastern Polynesia: numbers and changes during the 20th century
Keywords: seabirds; eastern Polynesia; Gambier
Abstract: We report numbers and distributions of the breeding seabird community of the Gambier Islands (Eastern Polynesia, South Pacific Ocean), obtained in 1995 and 1996. Comparing these data with those collected in 1922, 1965–69 and 1971, we assess the extent of changes in distribution and numbers of seabirds. None of the 14 species recorded previously to 1995–96 has disappeared, but numbers and ranges of all the tern species have decreased. Breeding of three additional species (Pterodroma spp.) has been discovered or confirmed in 1995–96, though their numbers are very small. We also identified an unknown Cookilaria petrel, of which a wing was collected in 1922 on Mangareva, but which was not recorded later. Although seabird diversity on Gambier Islands is high, no species breeds in large numbers. Indeed, several species have tiny population sizes, and concern is therefore expressed for the future of this seabird community.