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LARIDAE

Gulls, terns, noddies and skimmers

Egg laying, incubation and chick rearing logically follow the courtship displays.

Most gulls have a clutch size of three eggs, laid at two days intervals. Eggs have cryptic colour making difficult to find them on the ground.

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:

Tom Grey
Tom Grey's Bird Pictures

Paul Guillet
Photos d'Oiseaux

Tom Merigan
Tom Merigan’s Photo Galleries

Eugène Montocchio
Galerie Photos Nature

Pete Moulton
Pete Moulton Photography

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

 

Usually, all species produce a single brood, but one replacement clutch may occur if the first is destroyed.

Grey-hooded Gull

Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus

Grey-hooded Gull

Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus

Incubation is shared by both parents during about 22-26 days. Chicks are covered in cryptic down. Both parents brood them during one or two weeks, and one of the adults, or both, guard them until they fledge.

Yellow-legged Gull

Larus michahellis

Yellow-footed Gull - Larus livens
Parents feed the chicks which remain near the nest until they fledge.

Black-headed Gull -Chroicocephalus ridibundus

In some species, the older chicks may form a crèche while adults are feeding.

Heermann's Gull

Larus heermanni

The fledging period lasts between four and seven weeks and depends on body size. The young gulls learn to fly before leaving the nest-site.
According to the species, some gulls leave the colony and disperse or begin the migration, whereas others remain at colony for some weeks more.

 

Depending on the species and the food resources, terns lay 1, 2, or 3 eggs. Incubation lasts about 21 to 28 days, by both adults.
Caspian Tern - Hydroprogne caspia

Chicks are fed with fish, shrimps or other invertebrates brought back par parents. In broods of 2-3 chicks, competition for food often occurs.

Common Tern - Sterna hirundo
White-cheeked Tern - Sterna repressa

In some species, chicks form crèches where they are attended by only a few adults. During this period, parents are away from the colony on foraging trips. Crèche is an anti-predation strategy when parents are absent. In other species without crèches, chicks are guarded by one or both adults.

Forster's Tern - Sterna forsteri

After fledging, terns leave the colonies and disperse or migrate. Young may remain for several weeks or months with their parents.

Forster's Tern - Sterna forsteri

The White Tern lays only one egg on the bare branch. Incubation lasts 34-36 days shared by both parents. The chick is white and has strong claws which allow to cling to the branch. It is regularly fed, and for two months more after fledging which occurs about 48 days after hatching.

White Tern

Gygis alba

Noddies have the same nesting behaviour as terns.

Brown Noddy

Anous stolidus

Skimmers lay 2-6 eggs of cryptic colours. Incubation lasts between 21 and 26 days, shared by both parents. Eggs, chicks and adults require frequent cooling when temperatures exceed that of incubation. Adults fly over water and plough the surface with the breast feathers in order to wet and cool the eggs.

Black Skimmer

Rynchops niger

Parents bring fish at nest, and often the first chick hatched dominates the others, but it depends on food resources.
Young fledge 23-25 days after hatching, but they still depend on parents for two weeks more.
Then, adults and young congregate in open areas before the departure from the colonies. 

Yellow-legged Gull

Larus michahellis

Whiskered Tern - Chlidonias hybrida