Xu, H.; Li, D.; Hou, X.; Yu, X.; Liu, Y.; Li, X.; Li, B.; Chen, L.; Wang, X., and Xia, S., . Home range and habitat disturbance identification for a vulnerable shorebird species (Larus saundersi) in the Yellow River Delta, China.
Understanding the home range of animal species can be helpful to biodiversity and habitat conservation. Saunders's Gull (Larus saundersi), one of the vulnerable birds in the world, has become an important indicator species to measure the quality of ecological environment in the coastal wetlands of the Yellow River Delta. Information about habitat selection of the species has so far been mainly from field survey. In view of the successful application of satellite tracking in animal ecology, two individual birds were tagged for home range identification and habitat disturbance analysis. The gull's home range was confirmed using the Brownian bridge movement model. Habitat disturbances information from anthropogenic activities was analyzed by kernel density estimation as well as buffer zone analysis. Considering the gregariousness of the shorebird, the tracking sample data, though limited, can reflect the species' habitat selection to a certain extent. The results showed that (1) the Saunders's Gull's main home range was located in the northern and eastern coastal areas of Dongying city, the seashore area at the border of Binzhou with Dongying and Cangzhou city, and the Nanpu wetland of Tangshan city; and (2) human activity had a substantial effect on the home range selection, for example, mariculture was an important part of its home range, the Saunders's Gull exhibited an approach–avoidance behavior to wind turbines and oil wells, and activity time varied with different distances to the road. The study provides insights into the behavior of the shorebird and is of great significance to sustainable development of the human–environment relationship in the Yellow River Delta.