Breeding biology, chick growth, and diet of the Least Storm-Petrel Oceanodroma microsoma on Islas San Benito, Mexico
Masello, Juan F.
Lavaniegos, Bertha E.
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The Least Storm-Petrel Oceanodroma microsoma is endemic to islands on both coasts of Baja California, in Mexico. It is the smallest seabird species and one of the least studied of the order Procellariiformes. We present a detailed account of its breeding success, chick growth, and diet at Islas San Benito, Baja California, during three consecutive breeding seasons (2013 to 2015) and of sex differences in adult morphology, a study conducted in 2012. Eggs hatched between late July and mid-September, and the fledging period started in mid-October. The timing of breeding varied from year to year: the hatching period began earlier in 2013 than in 2015 and was longer in 2014, while the fledging period started later in 2014 than in 2013. Hatching success (around 80%) and fledging success (about 90%) were consistently high in all three years. Nevertheless, nestlings fledged with longer wings, tails, and bills in 2015. Four species of euphausiids, two species of larval fish, and one species of squid were identified in food samples. Differences in the timing of breeding and chick growth during the period of this study may reflect a variation in food supply associated with anomalous climate conditions recorded in 2014 and 2015.