Global spatial ecology of three closely-related gadfly petrels
The conservation status and taxonomy of the three gadfly petrels that breed in Macaronesia is still discussed partly due to the scarce information on their spatial ecology. Using geolocator and capture-mark-recapture data, we examined phenology, natal philopatry and breeding-site fidelity, year-round distribution, habitat usage and at-sea activity of the three closely-related gadfly petrels that breed in Macaronesia: Zino’s petrel Pterodroma madeira, Desertas petrel P. deserta and Cape Verde petrel P. feae. All P. feae remained around the breeding area during their non-breeding season, whereas P. madeira and P. deserta dispersed far from their colony, migrating either to the Cape Verde region, further south to equatorial waters in the central Atlantic, or to the Brazil Current. The three taxa displayed a clear allochrony in timing of breeding. Habitat modelling and at-sea activity patterns highlighted similar environmental preferences and foraging behaviours of the three taxa. Finally, no chick or adult was recaptured away from its natal site and survival estimates were relatively high at all study sites, indicating strong philopatry and breeding-site fidelity for the three taxa. The combination of high philopatry, marked breeding asynchrony and substantial spatio-temporal segregation of their year-round distribution suggest very limited gene flow among the three taxa.
Authors: Ramos, Raül, Ramírez, Iván, Paiva, Vitor H., Militão, Teresa, Biscoito, Manuel, Menezes, Dília, Phillips, Richard A., Zino, Francis, González-Solís, Jacob