The use of artificial nest boxes to improve the reproductive output of the Madeiran storm petrel Oceanodroma castro on Praia Islet, the Azores, Portugal

  • Published source details Bolton M., Medeiros R., Hothersall B. & Campos A. (2004) The use of artificial breeding chambers as a conservation measure for cavity-nesting procellariiform seabirds: a case study of the Madeiran storm petrel (Oceanodroma castro). Biological Conservation, 116, 73-80


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use vocalisations to attract birds to safe areas

Action Link
Bird Conservation

Provide artificial nesting sites for burrow-nesting seabirds

Action Link
Bird Conservation
  1. Use vocalisations to attract birds to safe areas

    A study in 2000-1 on an islet in the Azores, Portugal (Bolton et al. 2004), found that artificial nest chambers occupied by Madeiran storm petrels Oceanodroma castro were significantly closer to speakers playing the petrels’ ‘nest song’ every night than unoccupied nest chambers. Forty-seven of 115 chambers were used in early 2000; with 40 of 147 used in September 2000 and 49 in 2001. This study is discussed in more detail in ‘Provide artificial nesting sites’.


  2. Provide artificial nesting sites for burrow-nesting seabirds

    A controlled study in 2000-1 on Praia Islet in the Azores, Portugal (Bolton et al. 2004), found that Maderian storm petrels Oceanodroma castro nesting in artificial nest chambers had higher overall productivity than those in natural burrows in two out of three breeding seasons (0.42-0.64 chicks/pair for birds in artificial nests vs. 0.15-0.29 chicks/pair for natural burrows). Between 40 and 49 of 115-147 chambers were used and the authors argue that most birds using them were new breeders, meaning that the early-breeding population and late-breeding populations would have increased by 28% over two years and 11% in one year respectively. Chambers consisted of drainable plastic plant pots lined with stones, soil and dry grass, buried, covered with flexible lids and led to by 6 cm entrance. The pot had holes to ensure water drained through it. This study also used recorded petrel vocalisations to attract petrels to the site, discussed in ‘Use vocalisations to attract birds to safe areas’.


Output references

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