Biodiv Sci ›› 2017, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (4): 364-371.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2016378

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A review of the use of active seabird restoration techniques

Xiao Zhou1, Dongdong Chen1, Stephen W. Kress2, Shuihua Chen1,3,*()   

  1. 1 College of Chemistry and Life Sciences, Zhejiang Normal University, Jinhua, Zhejiang 321004, China
    2 Seabird Restoration Program, National Audubon Society, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA
    3 Zhejiang Museum of Natural History, Hangzhou 310014, China
  • Received:2016-12-30 Accepted:2017-03-20 Online:2017-04-20 Published:2017-04-20
  • Contact: Chen Shuihua


Most seabird species are threatened or endangered. To restore their populations and breeding habitats, ornithologists have developed two major active seabird restoration techniques: social attraction and chick translocation. With social attraction, decoys and acoustic vocalization playback are used to lure breeding seabirds to the restoration site. In chick translocation, the chicks of focal species are translocated and reared at the restoration site with the goal that they will return and breed at the release site. We conducted a worldwide search and found 171 projects conducted in 16 countries/regions to restore 64 seabird species. These techniques are used either independently or in combination, depending on the breeding biology of the target species. For both methods, managers are encouraged to understand the species’ breeding ecology and preferred nesting habitat. Habitat management, predator control and close monitoring are key steps to assure the success of the restoration. The breeding seabirds of China’s coast face many threats and their populations and habitats have decreased rapidly in recent decades. Active seabird restoration techniques can help to expand ranges and provide resilience to threats by starting new nesting colonies along the coast of China.

Key words: seabird, breeding habitat, population restoration, social attraction, chick translocation