Marine Biology

, Volume 162, Issue 11, pp 2279–2289 | Cite as

Year-round distribution suggests spatial segregation of Cory’s shearwaters, based on individual experience

  • Rogério V. Missagia
  • Jaime A. Ramos
  • Maite Louzao
  • Karine Delord
  • Henri Weimerskirch
  • Vitor H. Paiva
Original Paper


Recent studies have shown that pelagic seabirds with little breeding experience are wide ranging individuals exploring different foraging grounds and occupying generally more pelagic habitats than more experienced birds. This study compared the spatial dynamic of the year-round distribution and behaviour between two different population components: experienced (Exp; >2 years of successful breeding) and inexperienced (Inexp; ≤2 successful years) Cory’s shearwaters (Calonectris borealis) individuals from Berlenga Island, offshore the Portuguese coast. Our aim was to verify the occurrence of variations in the at-sea activity, foraging habitats and isotopic niches of Exp (N = 11) and Inexp (N = 11) individuals, during their breeding and non-breeding phases. Our results confirmed differences in the migratory routes and foraging grounds during the annual cycle between these two population components: Inexp birds exhibited a more pelagic behaviour than Exp birds, with extensive migratory routes, marked by several stopovers, and a higher number of non-breeding areas. Exp individuals migrated through shorter routes, and wintered in fewer locations. Exp individuals foraged on coastal, shallow and cold water areas and showed higher carbon and nitrogen isotopic values, while Inexp birds foraged more on pelagic, windy and frontal zones and exhibited lower carbon and nitrogen isotopic values. Our results suggest that experience plays a relevant role in explaining the spatial distribution and behaviour of pelagic seabirds such as Cory’s shearwaters. Future research with larger sample sizes should focus on comparing the behaviour of juvenile, immature, first-time breeders and breeders with increasing experience and age.


Migratory Route Isotopic Niche Pelagic Seabird Inexperienced Bird Outgoing Route 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to thank the Instituto da Conservação da Natureza e Florestas (ICNF) for their logistical support (lodging), especially the wardens of the Reserva Natural das Berlengas, Paulo Crisóstomo and Eduardo Mourato, for their companionship. We also thank Filipe Ceia and Lucas Krüger for help during fieldwork. GLS devices were financed by the EU INTERREG project FAME: The Future of the Atlantic Marine Environment and by former projects from Centre d’Etudes Biologiques de Chizé. R.M. acknowledges the study grant given by the EMMC-EMAE consortium and the European Commission. V.H.P. acknowledges the postdoctoral grants given by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT; SFRH/BPD/63825/2009 and SFRH/BPD/85024/2012). The experimental approach was conducted with permission from the Portuguese Government—‘Instituto de Conservação da Natureza e Florestas (ICNF)’—with permit No. 89/2011/CAPT. All methods used in this study comply with the Portuguese laws Nos. 140/99, 49/2005, 316/89 and 180/2008.

Supplementary material

227_2015_2762_MOESM1_ESM.docx (128 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 128 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rogério V. Missagia
    • 1
  • Jaime A. Ramos
    • 1
  • Maite Louzao
    • 2
    • 3
  • Karine Delord
    • 4
  • Henri Weimerskirch
    • 4
  • Vitor H. Paiva
    • 1
  1. 1.MARE – Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre, Department of Life SciencesUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  2. 2.CO XixónInstituto Español de OceanografíaXixónSpain
  3. 3.AZTI FundazioaPasaiaSpain
  4. 4.Centre d’Etudes Biologiques de ChizéUMR 7372 CNRS – Université de la RochelleVilliers en BoisFrance

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