Malta reports on its EU LIFE project on Yelkouan Shearwaters

The Near Threatened Yelkouan Shearwater Puffinus yelkouan of the Mediterranean is one of nine potential candidate shearwaters that have been identified for listing within the Albatross and Petrel Agreement.

The EU LIFE Yelkouan Shearwater Project managed by BirdLife Malta over the period 2006-2010 has recently published its final report (Borg et al. 2010), available for down-loading at

The report summarizes activities conducted over the four years which include drafting a management plan, initiating rat eradication, controlling disturbance and exploitation, running an awareness campaign, monitoring breeding and conducting at-sea tracking.

As well as Malta, France has also been active in conducting conservation-oriented research on Yelkouan Shearwaters (click here and view publications of the last decade listed below).

Selected publications on Yelkouan Shearwaters, 2000-2010

Bonnaud, E., Bourgeois, K., Vidal, E., Kayser, Y., Tranchant, Y. & Legrand, J. 2007.  Feeding ecology of a feral cat population on a small Mediterranean island.  Journal of Mammalogy 88: 1074-1081.

Bonnaud, E., Bourgeois, K., Vidal, E., Legrand, J. & Le Corre, M. 2009.  How can Yelkouan Shearwater survive feral cat predation?  An unexpected population structure as a solution?  Population Ecology 51: 261-270.

Bonnaud, E., Zarzoso-Lacoste, D., Bourgeois, K., Ruffino, L., Legrand, J. & Vidal, E. 2010.  Top-predator control on islands boosts endemic prey but not mesopredator.  Animal ConservationDOI: 10.1111/j.1469-1795.2010.00376.x

Borg, J.J. & J. Sultana. 2002.  Status and distribution of the breeding Procellariiformes in Malta.  il-Merill 30: 10-15.

Borg, J.J., Raine, H., Raine, A.F. & Barbara, N. 2010.  Protecting Malta's wind chaser: the EU LIFE Yelkouan Shearwater Project.  Malta: EU LIFE Yelkouan Shearwater Project.  30 pp.

Borg, J.J., J. Sultana, & C. Coleiro. 2002.  Pre-breeding movements and early nest visits by the Levantine Shearwater Puffinus yelkouan in Malta.  il-Merill 30: 20-23.

Bourgeois, K. 2006.  Ecologie, biologie et conservation d'un oiseau marin endémique de Méditerranée Puffinus yelkouan.  PhD thesis, Université Aix-Marseille 3.

Bourgeois, K. & Vidal, E. 2007.  Yelkouan Shearwater nest cavity selection and breeding success. Comptes Rendus Biologies 330: 205-214.

Bourgeois, K. & Vidal, E. 2008.  The endemic Mediterranean Yelkouan Shearwater Puffinus yelkouan: distribution, threats and a plea for more data.  Oryx 42: 187-194.

Bourgeois, K., Dromzée, S., Vidal, E. & Legrand, J. 2008.  Yelkouan Shearwater Puffinus yelkouan presence and behaviour at colonies: not only a moonlight question.  Comptes Rendus Biologies 331: 88-97.

Bourgeois, K., Vidal, E., Comor, V., Legrand, J. & Dromzee, S. 2008.  Colony-site selection drives management priorities for Yelkouan Shearwater populations.  Journal of Wildlife Management 72: 1188-1193.

Brooke M. [deL.] 2004.  Albatrosses and petrels across the World.  Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Conéjéro, S & Beaubrun, P. 2000.  Cory's Shearwater Calonectris diomedea and Levantine Shearwater Puffinus yelkouan (Procellariidae) in the Gulf of Lion during July 1994.  In: Yésou, P. & Sultana, J. 2000.  Monitoring and Conservation of Birds, Mammals and Sea Turtles of the Mediterranean and Black SeasProceedings of the 5th Medmaravis Symposium Gozo, Malta.  Malta: Environment Protection Department.  pp.  104-105.

Cooper, J., Baccetti, N., Belda, E.J., Borg, J.J., Oro, D., Papaconstantinou, C & Sánchez, A. 2003.  Seabird mortality from longline fishing in the Mediterranean and Macaronesian waters: a review and a way forward.  Scientia Marina 67, Supplement 2: 57-64.

Dimech, M., Darmanin, M,. Caruana, R. & Raine, H. 2008.  Preliminary data on seabird by-catch in Maltese waters (central Mediterranean).  International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas Standard Committee on Research and Statistics. SCRS/2008/027.  7 pp. 

Heidrich, P., Amengual, J., Ristow, D. & Wink, M. 2000.  Phylogenetic relationships among the Procellariiformes based on nucleotide sequences, with special consideration of the Mediterranean and North Atlantic shearwaters.  In: Yésou, P. & Sultana, J. 2000.  Monitoring and Conservation of Birds, Mammals and Sea Turtles of the Mediterranean and Black SeasProceedings of the 5th Medmaravis Symposium Gozo, Malta.  Malta: Environment Protection Department.  pp. 159-175.

To learn more about French and Maltese efforts to conserve the Yelkouan Shearwater visit:

With thanks to Nicholas Barbara, Conservation & Policy Officer, BirdLife Malta and Elsa Bonnaud, Island Ecology and Evolution Research Group, Canary Islands for information.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 15 December 2010

The Agreement on the
Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

ACAP is a multilateral agreement which seeks to conserve listed albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters by coordinating international activity to mitigate known threats to their populations.

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