Royal tern (Sterna maxima) chick diet on Fisherman Island National Wildlife Refuge, Virginia

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Deniz Aygen (Creator)
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
Web Site:
Steven Emslie

Abstract: I investigated Royal Tern (Sterna maxima) chicks on an uninhabited barrier island, Fisherman Island National Wildlife Refuge, at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia, during 2003 and 2004 to determine the seasonal variation in diet and the fisheries-related correlations in the availability of quality prey. Systematic observations of adults returning with food indicated that at least 19 families of fish, crustaceans, and squid were exploited. The most common forage species in both years were anchovies (Engraulidae) and herring (Clupeidae). Significant seasonal and annual variation occurred in prey type and size of prey, and a shift in prey occurred during the middle and later portions of the study during both years. However, time of day did not affect the proportion of anchovy and herring being fed to the chicks. These results suggest that prey abundance is the limiting factor in the diet of Royal Tern chicks.

Additional Information

A Thesis Submitted to the University of North Carolina Wilmington in Partial Fullfillment Of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science
Language: English
Date: 2009
Terns--Food, Terns--Virginia--Fisherman Island National Wildlife Refuge
Terns -- Virginia -- Fisherman Island National Wildlife Refuge
Terns -- Food

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