Intercolony variation in foraging flight characteristics of black‐headed gulls Chroicocephalus ridibundus during the incubation period. Ecology and Evolution.

  • July 23, 2020
  • by Jakubas, D., Indykiewicz, P., Kowalski, J., Iciek, T., & Minias, P.


Using GPS loggers, we examined the influence of colony, sex, and bird identity on foraging flight characteristics of black-headed gulls Chroicocephalus ridibundus during the incubation period. We studied tracks of 36 individuals breeding in one urban and two rural colonies in Poland. Birds from both rural colonies performed the furthest flights (mean max distance 8–12 km, up to 27 km) foraging mainly in agricultural areas. Gulls from the urban colony performed shorter flights (mean 5 km, up to 17 km) visiting mainly urbanized areas and water bodies. We found that females performed longer flights and their flight parameters were less repeatable compared to males. Males from both rural colonies visited water bodies more frequently than females. In all colonies, males (but not females) used habitats unproportionally to their availability in the vicinity. Relatively low interindividual and relatively high intraindividual overlap in home ranges indicated considerable foraging site fidelity. Individuals specialized in the use of a particular type of habitat performed shorter foraging flights compared to individuals using diverse habitats during their foraging flights. Our results indicate diverse foraging strategies of black-headed gulls, including generalists that explore various habitats and specialists characterized by high foraging site and habitat fidelity