Reproductive parameters in relation to food supply in the whiskered tern ( Chlidonias hybrida )

Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybridus) Science Article 1


It is generally accepted that breeding terns are sensitive to food supply and that their reproductive effort could be substantially affected by the availability and access to resources. In this study we examined reproductive parameters in the whiskered tern Chlidonias hybrida in relation to food supply during the courtship feeding period (food brought by males to females) over a 2-year period (2004-2005). We also studied whether the condition of the nestlings [body condition index (BCI)] was related to a proxy of the reproductive investment of the adults (the clutch size) during a season of food shortage. Behavioural observations showed a decrease in the intensity of male courtship feeding between years (2004 > 2005), and a strong shift in the relative abundance of the two prey groups (invertebrates/fish; invertebrate prey dropped from 88.0 to 49.3%) brought by males. This change in food delivery rates did not result in a delay in laying, but there was a significant difference in mean clutch size between years (2.71

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