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Subannual breeding and moult cycles in the bridled tern Sterna anaethetus in the Seychelles



Subannual breeding and moult cycles in the bridled tern Sterna anaethetus in the Seychelles



Ibis, 1183: 414-419



Breeding and molt were quite synchronous: 95% of the chicks hatching within 16 days of the mean hatching date in Feb.-March 1973, within 19 days in Oct.-Nov. 1973 and within 9 days in June-July 1974. The fledging period was approximately 9 wk. For most of the year adults were either breeding or molting, and for over 3 mo. in the year were both molting and feeding young. Individuals were shown to breed in successive seasons. The nesting periods and parts of 3 molting cycles were determined. The intervals between mean hatching dates and successive seasons were 231 and 258 days, and between identical molt 290 and 222 days. Biometrics of adults and eggs were given. The egg weight relative to body weight was 20.7%. The main food was small fishes, crustaceans and water strider Halobates. The biology of bridled tern was compared with sooty tern S. fuscata. Both species lay 1 egg; sooties nest in extremely dense colonies while bridled terns nest in smaller, looser aggregations; sooties are pelagic feeders while bridled terns are inshore feeders.

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Accession: 023706637

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