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The Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa is a characteristic breeding wader of wet grasslands in the Netherlands which has suffered a strong population decline since the 1960s. Low breeding success has been implicated as the main driver of this decline and here we examine whether changes in adult survival could also have played a role. Adult godwits were colour-ringed and resighted from 2002 through 2005 at four study sites in the Netherlands. Apparent adult survival was estimated in program MARK using Burnham’s model for both live resightings and dead recoveries. In addition, nest site fidelity was estimated at two of the sites by recording the distance between nest locations in successive years. Apparent adult survival was 0.93 (SE 0.03) in one study area and 0.81 (SE 0.04) in the other three sites. Overall apparent adult survival was 0.83 (SE 0.03). These values are similar to estimates from the 1970s and 1980s. Nest site fidelity was higher in the site with highest survival (median distance between nests in successive years: 49 m vs. 252 m in the other site), suggesting that the difference in apparent survival may result from differences in emigration rates. Thus, our results suggest that current adult survival is not different from rates 30 years ago, and therefore do not point to reduced adult survival as the driver behind the current population decline of Black-tailed Godwits.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-218
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2008

ID: 288776