eWestern Birds

The Quarterly Journal of Western Field Ornithologists

Vol. 47, No. 1
March 2016
Western Field Ornithologists

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Survey of Megapode Nesting Mounds in Palau, Micronesia
Alan R. Olsen, Milang Eberdong, Heather Ketebengang, Princess Blailes, and Po-Hao Chen

ABSTRACT: The Palau subspecies of the Micronesian Megapode, Megapodius laperouse senex, incubates its eggs by burying them in earthen nesting mounds built on level forested terrain near a beach. As a contribution to a better understanding of the abundance and distribution of Palau’s megapodes, we surveyed 122 beach sites for active nesting mounds. We detected birds at 61 sites and found 173 active mounds distributed over 53 of the 61 sites. Eighty-six percent of the active mounds were concentrated in or near a conservation area in southern Palau (55%) and on an atoll in northern Palau (31%). Following a super typhoon, we found undamaged six of 19 active nesting mounds at five sites in southern Palau. Megapodes eventually restored nine of the damaged mounds and abandoned the other four. After a stronger super typhoon struck northern Palau less than a year later, we confirmed the survival of megapodes and active nesting mounds on the atoll but were unable to search our original survey sites thoroughly because of impassable debris fields.

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