Reducing non-target mortality of Henderson Crakes (Porzana atra) during aerial broadcast eradication by selecting appropriate bait colour

Steffen Oppel, Jennifer L. Lavers, Alexander L. Bond, Gavin Harrison

Wildlife Research 43: 298-303 (2016)

Context: Operations to eradicate non-native invasive predators from islands frequently put native species at risk of consuming harmful substances, such as poison bait. The incorporation of certain colours in poison-bait pellets may reduce the risk of bait consumption and, therefore, non-target mortality. Previous work indicated that birds generally avoid blue or green colours; however, there is substantial inter-specific variation in this preference, and more experimental work on species of conservation concern is needed.

Key results: Henderson crakes did not consume any dry pellets, and all trials were conducted with wet bait pellets. We found slightly lower consumption of blue pellets than green pellets, and substantial variation among individuals. Females (n = 17) consumed 24% less blue than green bait, whereas males (n = 5) consumed 77% less blue than green bait