SOS Tartarugas works in Cape Verde protecting nesting loggerheads turtles (Caretta caretta) and their habitat. Cape Verde is the third most important nesting area for loggerheads in the world. Turtles are at risk from hunting for meat, stealing of eggs, removal of sand for building and unregulated tourism development. Our email is
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Friday, November 9, 2012

Breeding Kentish Plovers discovered on Sal

Kentish plovers Charadrius alexandrinus are small shorebirds (weighing only 40g) with an unknown status on Sal.  On Maio there has been an ongoing study of these very interesting birds for several years and with the help of Maio Biodiversity Foundation, SOS Tartarugas has started a survey on Sal.

Many Kentish plover populations are now declining and we want to make sure that we don't lose the ones that are here.

Kentish Plover chick
Kentish plovers are migratory in most parts of their range, although populations close to the equator are only partially migrant or resident. They breed on edges of saline lakes and lagoons, and inhabit salt-marshes and sand dunes so these islands provide some perfect habitat for them.

The problem is that they are extremely vulnerable as their breeding areas are lost to development.  In addition, their nests are mere scrapes on the ground meaning that predators such as crows and dogs can easily eat them and unwary humans could step on them without even noticing. 

Kentish Plover nest

To start with our team will be going out early in the morning and identifying the best areas to see the birds who are nesting at this time of year.  If we can establish that there are more than 15 breeding pairs we will know that it is worth starting a full time Kentish Plover programme in 2013.  We also want to understand if there is migration between the islands and we will do this by ringing the birds so that they can be identified whereever they are seen.

A ringed Kentish Plover
So far we have identified four very good habitats on Sal that may even support a bird-watching programme for visitors next year.

More photos here.