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Why do Gull-billed Terns Gelochelidon nilotica feed on fiddler crabs Uca tangeri in Guinea-Bissau?

Stienen, Eric W. M., Brenninkmeijer, Allix and Klaassen, Marcel 2008, Why do Gull-billed Terns Gelochelidon nilotica feed on fiddler crabs Uca tangeri in Guinea-Bissau?, Ardea, vol. 96, no. 2, pp. 243-250.

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Title Why do Gull-billed Terns Gelochelidon nilotica feed on fiddler crabs Uca tangeri in Guinea-Bissau?
Formatted title Why do Gull-billed Terns Gelochelidon nilotica feed on fiddler crabs Uca tangeri in Guinea-Bissau?
Author(s) Stienen, Eric W. M.
Brenninkmeijer, Allix
Klaassen, MarcelORCID iD for Klaassen, Marcel orcid.org/0000-0003-3907-9599
Journal name Ardea
Volume number 96
Issue number 2
Start page 243
End page 250
Total pages 8
Publisher Nederlandse Ornithlogische Unie
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publication date 2008
ISSN 0373-2266
Keyword(s) foraging behaviour
diet selection
digestive contraint
daily energy requirements
energetics
wintering
Africa
Summary Gull-billed Terns Gelochelidon nilotica wintering in Guinea Bissau mainly fed on fiddler crabs Uca tangeri and were occasionally seen feeding on fish and locusts. As fiddler crabs have a low energy content, terns need a large gross intake to meet daily energy demands. Fiddler crabs also have a low ratio of digestible flesh to exoskeleton, and therefore tern food intake may be limited by gut capacity. Activity budgets of Gullbilled Terns feeding on fiddler crabs showed that a considerable part of the time was spent resting. The duration of resting intervals increased with energy intake and was positively correlated with the metabolisable energy content of the crab eaten, suggesting that resting periods were required for a proper digestion. The poor quality of fiddler crabs was offset by high capture rates. So daily energy expenditure of the terns could easily be met by feeding on fiddler crabs. Even when resting pauses were included in foraging time, foraging for only 1.5 hours on fiddler crabs satisfied the terns’ daily energy demands. Instead, feeding on energy-rich fish would require about 2.5 hours to satisfy daily energy demands. Compared to the more specialised piscivorous Little Tern Sternula albifrons and Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis, capture rate of fish was poor in Gull-billed Terns. From an energetic point of view, wintering Gull-billed Terns feeding on fiddler crabs seem to have an easy living in Guinea Bissau.
Notes Reproduced with the kind permission of the copyright owner.
Language eng
Field of Research 060201 Behavioural Ecology
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2008, Nederlandse Ornithlogische Unie
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30035089

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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.