A long-term mark-recapture/resighting program has been carried out on the Roseate Terns (Sterna dougallii) nesting at Falkner Island, Connecticut, USA from the late 1980s through the mid 2000s, and from 1995-1998 an intensive collaborative study of food-provisioning of chicks by their parents also was conducted on many of the banded individuals at this site. Adult female Roseate Terns have significantly higher 'local survival' rates than do males. While both sexes feed their young, males usually have higher prey delivery rates than do females and do most feeding of the (oldest if more than one) chick just before it fledges. Males usually depart at the same time as the (oldest) fledgling, while successful females parents may linger at the colony site for up to two weeks. The lower 'local survival' rate of males probably does not represent lower colony-site fidelity, but instead may reflect the price they pay for doing more 'child care,' especially if fledglings are still dependant on them for food during post breeding dispersal and (at least early) migration.
Additional Publication Details
Sex-specific survival rates of adult roseate terns: are males paying a higher reproductive cost than females?
Wilson Ornithological Society and Association of Field Ornithologists Joint Meeting, April 21-24, Beltsville, Maryland. Abstracts