Age and sex ratios in the declining West Siberian/North European population of Long-tailed Duck wintering in the Baltic Sea
Implications for conservation
Keywords:Long-tailed duck, Baltic Sea, Age ratio, Sex ratio, population growth, distribution
The West Siberian/North European population of Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis), which breeds in the Russian Arctic and northern Fennoscandia and winters in the Baltic Sea, has declined rapidly since the 1990s. To identify the causes of the decline and initiate effective conservation measures information on basic demographic parameters is needed. A photo survey method was used to estimate female age ratios and the proportion of males among adults in wintering Long-tailed Ducks at coastal and off-shore areas in the Baltic Sea. Female age ratios were defined as the number of first winter males, assumed equal to the number of first winter females, per adult female. Several thousand individuals were sampled each winter from 2008 to 2021. Female age ratios fluctuated between years and were consistently lower in the southern than in the central Baltic Sea. The proportion of males among wintering adults birds was male-biased, more so in the southern Baltic Sea than in other regions. A population model was used to analyse if low female age ratios between 2008 and 2021 has constrained population growth. Given that the estimated weighted mean female age ratio of 0.153 was representative at the population scale, an extremely high adult female mean annual survival rate of 0.872 would have been needed to maintain a stable population. Considering known sources of anthropogenic mortality in the Baltic Sea, and instead assuming a more realistic survival rate of ca. 0.80, a population decline of ca. 7.7% per year should have occurred during the study period.
- 2022-12-30 (2)
- 2022-10-21 (1)
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Copyright (c) 2022 Kjell Larsson
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