Long-term population trends in the vulnerable Lesser Noddy Anous tenuirostris melanops at the Houtman Abrolhos, Western Australia

Estimated numbers of breeding pairs of the Lesser Noddy (Houtman Abrolhos) Anous tenuirostris melanops are reported from 14 surveys made between 1986 and 2014. Numbers on the three breeding islands, Pelsaert, Wooded and Morley, have fluctuated between years and within colonies. Total estimated numbers of breeding pairs for the Houtman Abrolhos population have varied from c. 77 000 in 1986 to c. 48 000 in 1993 and 2007; however, in most cases a lower number in one year has been followed by higher numbers in succeeding years. There has been decline in numbers since 1986, with both 2013 and 2014 both having relatively low estimates. Lesser Noddies nest only in Grey Mangrove Avicennia marina low forests and there has been considerable mangrove dieback during the past two decades, with Morley Island being particularly affected. The subspecies clearly meets IUCN Red List criteria for Vulnerable, and if a precautionary approach is taken to evaluation, could meet criteria for Endangered.

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