Long-distance dispersal of a Cape Gannet Morus capensis after extended period of nest-site fidelity

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Peer-Reviewed Research


The Cape Gannet Morus capensis is endemic to southern Africa, where the species typically displays high levels of nest-site fidelity to its breeding colonies (Crawford 2005). At Mkambati Nature Reserve, in June 2014, we recorded a dead Cape Gannet that had been ringed as a juvenile at Lambert’s Bay, ~1 500 km away, in 1991. Following initial banding, it had been recaptured multiple times at the ringing location until 2000. Our observation therefore may provide evidence for long-distance dispersal that took place after an extended period of high site fidelity. We speculate that this dispersal may have been caused by seal-related disturbance at the Lambert’s Bay colony or by prey distribution changes or both.