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GPS-tracking and colony observations reveal variation in offshore habitat use and foraging ecology of breeding Sandwich Terns
Fijn, R.C.; de Jong, J.; Courtens, W.; Verstraete, H.; Stienen, E.W.M.; Poot, M.J.M. (2017). GPS-tracking and colony observations reveal variation in offshore habitat use and foraging ecology of breeding Sandwich Terns. J. Sea Res. 127: 203-211. https://hdl.handle.net/10.1016/j.seares.2016.11.005
In: Journal of Sea Research. Elsevier/Netherlands Institute for Sea Research: Amsterdam; Den Burg. ISSN 1385-1101; e-ISSN 1873-1414, meer
Peer reviewed article  

Beschikbaar in  Auteurs 

Trefwoorden
    Behaviour
    Enclosure
Author keywords
    Thalasseus sandvicencis; Foraging strategy; GPS-logger; Resting; Multi-method approach

Auteurs  Top 
  • Fijn, R.C., meer
  • de Jong, J.
  • Courtens, W., meer
  • Verstraete, H., meer
  • Stienen, E.W.M., meer
  • Poot, M.J.M., meer

Abstract
    Breeding success of seabirds critically depends on their foraging success offshore. However, studies combining at-sea tracking and visual provisioning observations are scarce, especially for smaller species of seabirds. This study is the first in which breeding Sandwich Terns were tracked with GPS-loggers to collect detailed data on foraging habitat use in four breeding seasons. The maximum home range of individual Sandwich Terns comprised approximately 1900 km2 and the average foraging range was 27 km. Trip durations were on average 135 min with average trip lengths of 67 km. Actual foraging behaviour comprised 35% of the time budget of a foraging trip. Substantial year-to-year variation was found in habitat use and trip variables, yet with the exception of 2012, home range size remained similar between years. Food availability, chick age and environmental conditions are proposed as the main driving factors between inter- and intra-annual variations in trip variables. Our multi-method approach also provided geo-referenced information on prey presence and we conclude that future combining of colony observations and GPS-loggers deployments can potentially provide a near complete insight into the feeding ecology of breeding Sandwich Terns, including the behaviour of birds at sea.

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