Nesting of Great Cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo) on man-made structures in Ukraine


  • A. I. Sidorenko Biodiversity Research Institute
  • V. D. Siokhin Biodiversity Research Institute
Keywords: nesting strategy, artificial constructions, Ukraine

Abstract

In Ukraine the Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo Linnaeus, 1758) uses a rather wide range of habitats for nesting: islands, trees and shrubs, reedbeds and a variety of man-made structures. In general, the strategy of nesting on man-made structures is uncommon both in Ukraine and Europe, and Cormorantsdo this only in the absence of other sites suitable for nesting. Special research onCormorant colonies on technogenic constructions was carried out during the field expeditions by the Research Institute of Biodiversity of Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecosystems of Ukraine in 2002–2003 and 2012–2016. Besides this, we used retrospective and current data from the literature and Internet resources. Most of the field work was carried out by making surveys by boat and on foot. As a result, we found 8 Cormorant colonies on technogenic constructions in Ukraine: gas platforms in the Sea of Azov (near the village Strilkove, Henichesk district of Kherson region); sunken ships – targets for bombing training near the Arabat Spit (these are also known as «ship islands»); electricity pylons of the high-voltage Enerhodar Dnipro Power Line where it crosses the Kakhovka Reservoir; the dock in Yahorlyk Bayk, used in the past as a target for bombing training bombing; artificial island-platforms on Lake Chernine (Kinburn Peninsula); an artificial island on the Sasyk Lagoon (Odessa region); artificial islands, made as navigation markers on the Kremenchuk and Kiev reservoirs. The study found that in most cases the accompanying species was the CaspianGull (Larus cachinnans Pallas, 1811), which actively destroys the Cormorants’ nests and eats their eggs and chicks. The number of nests in the colonies varied greatly (5–30 nests on the navigation marker islands and ca. 2 000–2 300 on the «ship-islands» and gas platforms). This is due, primarily, to the area of the breeding territory. The research found that fierce territorial competition was observed in most of the colonies both with Caspian Gulls and between Cormorants. In addition, we observed anthropogenic interference in the colonies by fishermen and workers conducting routine maintenance work (as happened in the case of electricity pylons and gas platforms). The benefit of this study is that it is the first research in Ukraine conducted at national level onthis type of nesting by Cormorants. Moreover, the study examines the history of emergence of these nesting territories and population dynamics of the Great Cormorant from the time of initial settlement of the breeding sites till the present.

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Published
2016-07-28
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