Aves, p�le ornithologique de Natagora

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Aves, 49/4 | 2012 | 205-224

  Status of Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus in the Entre-Sambre-et-Meuse (Belgium): movements, provenance, numbers.
Philippe Deflorenne & Fanny Carion Ellis

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Article summary

This study of the Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus is based on observations in the region of Entre-Sambre-et-Meuse, for the most part at the Eau d’Heure reservoirs and at four landfill sites. The fieldwork comprised regular counts of bird numbers and a substantial number of observations of birds with coloured rings. The data set comprises more than 1,500 observations of 345 different individuals Lesser Black headed Gulls that use the Eau d’Heure reservoirs as night roost site, for the most part from August to December. During their stay, they spread out during the day to different feeding areas within a radius of about 30 km, especially to open air landfill sites. After accounting for the turnover of individuals, it is estimated that during the autumn of 2006 there were more than 20,000 Lesser Black-headed Gulls that adopted this dormitory feeding site system. The birds originate from a substantial portion of the geographical range of this species, from Iceland to Russia, but with a majority coming from the Netherlands, from Norway and from Germany. The recent closure of landfill sites in Wallonia does not yet seem to have had any marked effect on the total amount of gulls wintering in the Entre-Sambre-et-Meuse region, although it seems to have negatively affected Lesser Black-backed Gull. For the moment, the gulls seem to be adapting by using remaining landfill sites in France, and the local farmland.

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