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1 February 2006 Nest Attributes, Aggression, and Breeding Success of Gulls in Single and Mixed Species Subcolonies
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Abstract

We investigated attributes of nests, aggressive interactions, and reproductive success in mixed and single species subcolonies of Great Black-backed Gulls (Larus marinus) and Herring Gulls (L. argentatus) on Appledore Island, Maine. Distances to the nearest neighboring nest were smaller for L. argentatus than L. marinus, with greatest distances between nests at edges of subcolonies in both species. More L. argentatus nests had natural screens (vegetation or rock >30 cm tall) adjacent to them than did L. marinus nests, but screen presence did not differ among nest positions within the colony. Clutch size did not differ between species; however, hatching success (number of chicks hatched per nest) was higher in L. argentatus than L. marinus. Fledging success (number of chicks fledged per nest) of L. marinus was greater at nests with heterospecific neighbors, whereas the opposite was true for L. argentatus. For both species, the frequency of aggressive interactions was lower at nests with L. argentatus neighbors. Overall, L. marinus nesting near L. argentatus experienced less aggression and greater reproductive success than those nesting among conspecifics, where intraspecific aggression was relatively high. L. argentatus nesting near L. marinus experienced more aggression and lower reproductive success than those nesting among conspecifics, where intraspecific aggression was relatively low. The costs and benefits of nesting in mixed species colonies may depend on the relative size and aggressiveness of the heterospecifics. Interactions with L. marinus in mixed species colonies may be contributing to the current declines of L. argentatus throughout New England.

Julie C. Ellis and Thomas P. Good "Nest Attributes, Aggression, and Breeding Success of Gulls in Single and Mixed Species Subcolonies," The Condor 108(1), 211-219, (1 February 2006). https://doi.org/10.1650/0010-5422(2006)108[0211:NAAABS]2.0.CO;2
Received: 6 January 2005; Accepted: 1 September 2005; Published: 1 February 2006
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