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LARIDAE

Gulls, terns, noddies and skimmers

SUMMARY OF THIS STUDY

Introduction and Description of the species

Feeding behaviour

Reproduction :

The nest
The defence displays
The courtship displays
Nesting behaviour

Movements and migrations

Protection and threats

Conclusion

 

Text by Nicole Bouglouan

Photographers:

Alfredo Colón
Puerto Rico Wildlife

Steve Garvie
RAINBIRDER Photo galleries

Tom Grey
Tom Grey's Bird Pictures

Tom Merigan
Tom Merigan’s Photo Galleries

David Nowell
Virtually Home - Photo Gallery

Yves Thonnérieux
NATUR’AILES

Callie de Wet
Flickr Galleries

Nicole Bouglouan
PHOTOGRAPHIC RAMBLE

 

Sources :  

HANDBOOK OF THE BIRDS OF THE WORLD Volume 3 by Josep del Hoyo-Andrew Elliott-Jordi Sargatal - Lynx Edicions - ISBN : 8487334202

THE HANDBOOK OF BIRD IDENTIFICATION FOR EUROPE AND THE WESTERN PALEARCTIC by Mark Beaman, Steve Madge - C.Helm - ISBN: 0713639601

OISEAUX DE LA REUNION par Armand Barau - Nicolas Barré - Christian Jouanin - Editions Orphie - ISBN : 2877632636

L’ENCYCLOPEDIE MONDIALE DES OISEAUX - Dr Christopher M. Perrins -  BORDAS - ISBN: 2040185607

 

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Summary articles

 

THE NEST:

Almost all the members of the family Laridae breed colonially and often in mixed colonies with other seabirds’ species, and occasionally solitary.

Mew Gull

Larus canus

Gulls, terns and skimmers usually nest on sandy beaches, bare rocks, among reeds or other vegetation, or in vegetated sand dunes.

Great Black-backed Gull

Larus marinus

The nest is a scrape, a shallow depression, sometimes lined with some vegetation, pebbles or shells. The colony is often in coastal locations or on islands, coral cays, rocks…

Some species such as Bonaparte’s Gull (Larus Philadelphia) nest in trees between 3 and 10 metres above the ground.

Black-legged Kittiwake - Rissa tridactyla

The gulls of the genera “rissa” establish the colonies on narrow cliff ledges where both species Rissa tridactyla and Rissa brevirostris share the location.

Least Tern - Sternula antillarum
Bridled Tern - Onychoprion anaethetus

Some terns’ species nest in marshes, and build floating nests. 
The Inca Tern (Larosterna inca) nests in fissures, burrows and small caves, under rocks and boulders on island slopes, and also on ledges in human structures.

Arctic Tern - Sterna paradisaea
Whiskered Tern - Chlidonias hybrida

The White Tern (Gygis alba) does not build any nest. The female lays only one egg in a small depression on bare branch. 

White Tern

Gygis alba

The skimmers’ nests are unlined and can be situated on sandbanks of large rivers, or on islands in lakes.

Black Skimmer - Rynchops niger - Pair above

With a Caspian Tern on the nest - right

Noddies nest mainly in rocky areas such as cliff ledges, crevices in rock, slopes, but also in trees.
The Black Noddy (Anous minutus) establishes the colony in large trees, but also on cliff when trees are lacking.
The Brown Noddy (Anous stolidus) nests from flat beaches to cliffs, low bushes and tall trees, but usually not directly on the ground.

The Lesser Noddy (Anous tenuirostris) builds a bulky nest in tall tree.
The noddies’ nests are not fully concealed, but they often are inaccessible to most predators. 

Brown Noddy

Rynchops niger

Lesser Noddy

Anous tenuirostris

The goal of all species is to defend the nest-site against predators and other pairs.

To nest in colonies involves more safety but also promiscuity which sometimes favours polygamy and disputes.

The solitary nesters have to find hidden nest-sites with good view on the surroundings.   

Grey-hooded Gull

Chroicocephalus cirrocepohalus