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Breeding waders on Kolguev Island, Barents Sea, N Russia, 2006–2008

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Pages
102 – 113

Published
1 August 12

Authors
Helmut Kruckenberg, Alexander Kondratyev, Christoph Zöckler, Elmire Zaynagutdinova, Johan H. Mooij

Correspondence
Helmut Kruckenberg
helmut.kruckenberg@tournatur.de
TourNatur Wildlife Research, Am Steigbügel 3, 27283 Verden (Aller), Germany.

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Kolguev Island in the Barents Sea, N Russia, has no rodents; as a consequence it has a relatively small predator population, which is most beneficial to the breeding success of birds. As a consequence it is an area of outstanding importance for waders, not only in the Western Palearctic but also across the entire Arctic region. Until recently, knowledge of the breeding birds of Kolguev was limited to the results of a small number of ornithological expeditions that took place mostly in the early 1900s. During the three summers 2006–2008, a Russian–German team undertook a series of expeditions to investigate the bird populations of the entire island. Here we present the results of these expeditions in respect the breeding status, abundance, distribution and population trends of waders, and report on some aspects of their breeding biology. We found 15 breeding wader species of which Dunlin Calidris alpina, Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago and Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres showed a decline between 1994–1995 and 2006–2008 while numbers of Grey Plovers Pluvialis squatarola appeared to be stable. In contrast Eurasian Golden Plovers P. apricaria which were rare in 1994 are now breeding regularly. Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus, Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes minimus and Eurasian Dotterel Eudromias morinellus were confirmed as breeding species, but these might have been overlooked in earlier years. For several species we discuss trends on Kolguev in the context of trends in the Wadden Sea and elsewhere.