Population sizes of breeding seabirds

In Norway, populations of breeding seabirds have been monitored more or less regularly since the mid-1900s in a few colonies; it was first at the end of the 1970s that the monitoring was more systematically structured, and combined with studies of reproduction and diet choice for selected species through the so-called Seabird Project (1979-1984).

Monitored species and areas

In the Seabird Project, black-legged kittiwakes and auks were the main focus. After the project finished, the population development time series for the colonies on Runde, Sklinna, Røst and Hornøya were continued, whereas those for the other areas ended (e.g., Bleiksøy) or were first started up again with the advent of SEAPOP (e.g., Anda).

The establishment of the National Monitoring Programme for Seabirds (now an integrated part of SEAPOP) in 1988 led to the monitoring of a far larger number of colonies and species. On a national basis, including Jan Mayen, Bear Island and the rest of Svalbard, the monitoring programme now encompasses breeding populations of northern gannets, both species of cormorants, common eiders, black-legged kittiwakes, all auks (six species), northern fulmars and most of the seagull species. Seagulls and cormorants form the focus for the monitoring in the North Sea and Skagerrak, while the majority of work further north typically occurs in bird cliffs and spans a large spectrum of species.

Available data

SEAPOP's time series for breeding population trends

Search the data on breeding population trends in our data portal!