Audouin’s gull breeding in the Salinas y Arenales de San Pedro del Pinatar Regional Park

Since 2010 the Audouin’s gull (Ichthyaetus audouinii) has been breeding in the Salinas y Arenales de San Pedro del Pinatar Regional Park. The Audouin’s gull is the main target species of the LIFE project. On this breeding season, we estimate a total of 513 pairs in her breeding colony, thus increasing the number of pairs regarding the last years.

In the Regional Park, this species selects nesting habitats with low vegetation cover. The pairs build their nests with branches, feathers and other materials, sometimes less than 1 meter apart. In general, the clutch size is 2-3 eggs, exceptionally 4 eggs. Just as other species that nest in the ground, their eggs are very cryptic, earth colored and dotted.

The incubation period is around of 30 days, and both parents being involved in this biological process. After hatching, the chicks leaving the nest and looking for refuge among the surrounding vegetation. Despite trying to flights at 40 days of age, the chicks can stay with the parents for 3 or 4 months. However, the reproductive success in the colonies of this species is low, generally surviving between 10% and 20% of the chicks.

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