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Rediscovery of least known breeding sites for seabirds in East Coast Peninsular Malaysia

ABDULMAULA ABDULMAGID HAMZA, CHEE HO WONG, AMIRRUDIN B. AHMAD

Abstract


Information on breeding marine avifauna in East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia are scarce, egg collection by locals in the past centuries is believed to driven many species
away. Recently the diversity and spatial distribution of breeding seabirds in islands around Pulau Redang and Pulau Perhentian archipelagos were studied. Black-naped tern Sterna
sumatrana and Bridled tern Onychoprion anaethetus were the main breeding seabird species in the area. Two small islands/islets were found to host nests of these two species:
Pulau Kerengga Kecil and Pulau Ling (or Pulau Cupak), and Pulau Serenges to the north of Pulau Perhentian Kecil , while two other islands: Pulau Paku Kecil near Pulau Redang and on small islet to northern side of Pulau Perhentian Kecil, both were found to host single species colony of Black-naped tern. Nest and adult counts were made during four visits to the colonies between May and September 2015. Three nests of the Pacific reef egret,
Egretta sacra were also found at Pulau Ling coinciding with the tern breeding season. The rediscovery of these colonies provides new research and conservation opportunities in studying the movements of the two tern species during and after monsoon season, chick diet structure and how it can be affected by fishing and tourism activities. On the other hand it may provide new ecotourism activity (e.g., watching seabirds) for Redang Marine Park, however such activity should be carefully designed due to the sensitivity of tern colonies to human disturbance. Fishing (impact on food availability) and tourism (marine traffic,
visitation, snorkelling and diving activities) in addition to old tradition of egg collection by locals are the most affecting factors on the breeding success and the future status of these
rare species in the East Coast waters.

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