Breeding biology of the blue-gray noddy

Journal of Field Ornithology

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Blue-gray Noddies, the smallest marine terns, are similar in many respects to all tropical terns in Hawaii: single-egg clutches are laid, growth and development take about 7 weeks, breeding is colonial. Its small size results in eggs that comprise over 27% of adult body weight, compared to 15-20% for most marine terns (Langham 1983). Blue-gray Noddies are widespread in the tropical Pacific, but populations are generally small. This may be the result of its inshore feeding habits and the fact that it is a resident species (Diamond 1978). However, populations in the Hawaiian Archipelago are probably limited by the availability of suitable nest sites in cliffs or rocky outcrops, not food supplies..... Food habits in Hawaii confirm the unique dependence of this species on sea-striders but consumption may be seasonal Blue-gray Noddies take the smallest prey of any seabird in Hawaii and may feed on a lower trophic level..... The Hawaiian population is apparently heavier and produces larger eggs than Blue-gray Noddies elsewhere in the Pacific. This conforms with the general proposition that Hawaiian seabirds are larger than those in the central Pacific (Harrison et al. 1983). The Hawaiian population also has a more predictable breeding season than those farther south.This may be due to a greater seasonality of food supply, but the factors that control the timing of breeding are not clear. There does not appear to be any competition for nest sites with other seabirds.....Our information on growth and development will enable future investigators to estimate the ages of chicks during brief visits to Blue-gray Noddy colonies. This will facilitate programs that are designed to monitor the basic health of seabird populations and to detect changes from baseline that may result from human activities or oceanographic conditions.

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Breeding biology of the blue-gray noddy
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Journal of Field Ornithology
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Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
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Journal Article
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Journal of Field Ornithology
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