We studied sex-specific differences in prey returned to nests and eaten by parents in Whiskered Terns Chlidonias hybrida. The species is size-dimorphic, with females being smaller than males. The sex of the birds was determined by molecular analysis. Prey consumed and carried to chicks was recorded at short (<300 m) and long distances (>300 m) from nests. Only females carried invertebrates to the chicks and they did so only from short distances. The proportion of vertebrates carried to the chicks by both sexes was greater when feeding at short distances from the nest. Males carried significantly larger vertebrates to chicks than those they consumed themselves. These results demonstrate that reproductive trade-offs differ between the sexes in the Whiskered Tern.
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Vol. 104 • No. 1