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Title: Studies on the biology of the pink pigeon Columbia mayeri
Author: Jones, C. G.
Awarding Body: University College of Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 1995
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The Pink Pigeon Columbia mayeri is an endangered endemic bird from Mauritius, Indian Ocean. It reached its lowest recorded status in 1975 following the passage of cyclone Gervaise when only 10-20 individuals were thought to exist. The main causes of the species endangerment has been habitat destruction, high levels of nest predation, predation upon juveniles and adults by exotic mammals and seasonal food shortages. A captive breeding project was set up on Mauritius in 1976. By the end of 1994, 340 birds had been reared to 30 days. Of all eggs laid 16.2% resulted in young reared. Fertility was 53.2% and of these 65.8% hatched and 61.8% of these lived to 30 days. The productivity of captive birds has varied greatly from 0-13 young reared per pair/year with an average of six. Females reach a peak in their productivity in their second year. The percentage of fertile eggs laid drops sharply after four years and few females older than this succeed in producing young. Male fertility also shows a significant decrease with age. However, male and female age has no apparent influence upon egg hatchability or chick survival. Inbreeding significantly reduces nestling, juvenile and female survival and inbred birds are lighter in weight. Since 1987 a total of 103 captive bred birds have been released into three different areas of native forest and together with the wild population form four subpopulations. There have been an estimated 195 breeding attempts among the released birds which progressed as far as egg-laying and these produced 60 fledglings. In late 1994 the total free-living population was about 140 birds. It is planned to establish another reintroduced subpopulation on Mauritius and it is hoped that the total free-living population can be raised to 500 birds within five years.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available