Body condition of nestlings can influence their future survival. Here, we used data obtained from a colourringing program of Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis in two colonies from northern Iberia to quantify the relative importance of pre-fledging body size and mass on post-fledging juvenile survival. Chicks were ringed with colour-rings at their colony in June/July when they were almost ready to fledge, and, thereafter, sighting data of these birds were collected over a period of one year and analysed with Cormack-Jolly-Seber capture-recapture models. The Yellowlegged Gull in the region is resident, so sighting data were mostly collected within an area close to natal colonies, where the field effort was intensive. Monthly survival from August onwards was higher than from ringing date to August (0.59± 0.06 SE), reaching model averaged values of 0.91 ± 0.03 and 0.98 ± 0.03 for the two colonies analysed. Moreover, condition of chicks (measured as residual body mass and body size) before fledging had a positive effect on survival from ringing date to August, but not from August onwards, when survival was strongly affected by the colony of origin.
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Vol. 50 • No. 2