Within-season divorce in Common Terns Sterna hirundo in a year of heavy predation

Abstract

Divorce between seasons is a common phenomenon in seabirds, whereas within-season mate change is rarely observed. We report four cases of within-season mate change in renesting Common Terns Sterna hirundo during a year of heavy predation by a Long-eared Owl Asio otus, when we found more deserted clutches, lower hatching success as well as more disappeared chicks compared to other years. Within-season nest-site fidelity also decreased under predation pressure.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Ashmole NP (1963) The biology of the wideawake or sooty tern Sterna fuscata on Ascension Island. Ibis 103b:297–364. doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1474-919X.1963.tb06757.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Becker PH, Wink M (2002) Geschlechtsabhängige Größenunterschiede von Flüggelingen der Flußseeschwalbe (Sterna hirundo). J Ornithol 143:51–56. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02465458

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Bried J, Jouventin P (2001) Site and mate choice in seabirds: an evolutionary approach. In: Schreiber EA, Burger J (eds) Biology of marine birds. CRC Press, New York, pp 263–305

    Google Scholar 

  4. Cuthbert FJ (1985) Mate retention in Caspian Terns. Condor 87:74–78. doi:https://doi.org/10.2307/1367133

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. González-Solís J, Becker PH, Wendeln H (1999a) Divorce and asynchronous arrival in common terns Sterna hirundo. Anim Behav 58:1123–1129. doi:https://doi.org/10.1006/anbe.1999.1235 Medline

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. González-Solís J, Wendeln H, Becker PH (1999b) Within and between season nest-site and mate fidelity in Common Terns (Sterna hirundo). J Ornithol 140:491–498. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01650993

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Johnston VH, Ryder JP (1987) Divorce in larids: a review. Colon Waterbird 10:16–26. doi:https://doi.org/10.2307/1521226

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Ludwig SC, Becker PH (2006) Waiting for the mate? Spatial behaviour of common terns, Sterna hirundo, during courtship. Anim Behav 72:1093–1102. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2006.03.013

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Ludwigs J-D (2005) Common tern Sterna hirundo mating with two females successively in one season. Atl Seabird 7:90–92

    Google Scholar 

  10. Massey BW, Fancher JM (1989) Renesting by California least terns. J Field Ornithol 60:350–357

    Google Scholar 

  11. Moody AT, Wilhelms SI, Cameron-MacMillan ML, Walsh CJ, Storey AE (2005) Divorce in common murres (Uria aalge): relationship to parental quality. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 57:224–230. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00265-004-0856-8

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Nisbet ICT, Bridge ES, Szczys P, Heidinger BJ (2007) Sexual dimorphism, female-female pairs, and test for assortative mating in common terns. Waterbirds 30:169–179. doi:https://doi.org/10.1675/1524-4695(2007)30[169:SDFPAT]2.0.CO;2

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Schreiber EA, Burger J (2001) Biology of marine birds. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fla.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Sudmann SR, Becker PH, Wendeln H (1994) Sumpfohreule Asio flammeus und Waldohreule A. otus als Prädatoren in Kolonien der Flußseeschwalbe Sterna hirundo. Vogelwelt 115:121–126

    Google Scholar 

  15. Wendeln H, Becker PH (1999) Does disturbance by nocturnal predators affect body mass of adult common terns? Waterbirds 22:401–410. doi:https://doi.org/10.2307/1522116

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

The long-term study of Common Terns at the Banter See is supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (BE916/8). We thank many helpers in the field, especially Alexander Braasch for providing his nocturnal observations of the owl, and Jan-Dieter Ludwigs, Ian Nisbet and Emmanuelle Cam for helpful comments on the manuscript.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sonja C. Ludwig.

Additional information

Communicated by T. Friedl.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Ludwig, S.C., Becker, P.H. Within-season divorce in Common Terns Sterna hirundo in a year of heavy predation. J Ornithol 149, 655–658 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10336-008-0313-y

Download citation

Keywords

  • Within-season
  • Renesting
  • Divorce
  • Mate change
  • Predation