|Cory's Shearwater / JBorg |
Malta holds host approximately 10% of the world’s Yelkouan Shearwater (Puffinus yelkouan) population, the largest breeding population of European Storm-petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus) in the Mediterranean and significant colonies of Cory’s Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea) and Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis).
In recognition of our unique importance to these species, BirdLife Malta carries out yearly monitoring of the breeding colonies of these seabird populations. Since 1968, over 18,000 European Storm-petrels, 2,700 Cory’s Shearwater, 600 Yelkouan Shearwaters and 1,200 Yellow-legged Gull have been ringed.
This work is undertaken at key breeding sites on Malta, such as Rdum tal-Madonna and Gozo. Other research carried out by BirdLife Malta includes the Comino Bird Ringing Project that studies population sizes and age structures of the main migratory species passing over Malta.
Particular attention is also given to the colonies on the island of Filfla, a Bird Sanctuary designated for its breeding colony of European Storm-petrels. At this site, ringing groups go out several times a year to study this species, along with Yellow-legged Gulls and Cory’s Shearwaters. Access is exceedingly difficult and the breeding colonies on the top of Filfla are only accessible by helicopter.
Storm-Petrel / JSultana
Through our ringing studies, a vast amount of data has been collected, giving us an important insight into the biology and ecology of these species in Malta. This information is critical to the conservation of these seabirds.