Influence of diet and foraging strategy on reproductive success in two morphologically similar sympatric seabirds

Robertson, G. S., Bolton, M. and Monaghan, P. (2016) Influence of diet and foraging strategy on reproductive success in two morphologically similar sympatric seabirds. Bird Study, 63(3), pp. 319-329. (doi:10.1080/00063657.2016.1183112)

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Abstract

Capsule: Morphologically similar sympatrically breeding species differ in diet and foraging strategies, which could explain interspecific variation in breeding success and reproductive output. Aims: To compare provisioning rate and diet of nestling Arctic (Sterna paradisaea) and Common Terns (Sterna hirundo), and examine how variation in provisioning behaviour influences reproductive parameters. Methods: Arctic and Common Tern nests were observed from June to July 2011 on Coquet Island, northeast England. We compared chick provisioning rate, diet and energy delivery rate between species, and examined whether these parameters were associated with interspecific differences in chick growth and survival, and total number of chicks fledged. Results: Arctic Terns delivered higher percentages of smaller Sandeels (Ammodytes marinus) and juvenile fish to chicks than did Common Terns, which delivered comparatively high percentages of larger Sprats (Sprattus sprattus). Although chick growth rate and survival were not significantly different between species, Common Terns fledged more chicks than Arctic Terns due to a tendency for larger clutch sizes. Conclusion: Our study suggests that interspecific differences in diet and foraging strategies can support total reproductive output in morphologically similar species.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Monaghan, Professor Pat
Authors: Robertson, G. S., Bolton, M., and Monaghan, P.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Bird Study
Publisher:British Trust for Ornithology
ISSN:0006-3657
ISSN (Online):1944-6705
Published Online:13 May 2016

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
552641NERC DTG 2010 - 2014: FBLSMarjorie BilsboroughNatural Environment Research Council (NERC)NE/I528369/1MVLS FINANCE