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Geographische und jährliche Variation der Ernährung der Flußseeschwalbe (Sterna hirundo) an der Nordseeküste

Geographical and annual variations of feeding of Common Terns (Sterna hirundo) at the German North Sea Coast

Zusammenfassung

Anhand von Nahrungstierfunden und Speiballen untersuchten wir die geographische und jährliche Variation des Nahrungsspektrums der Flußseeschwalbe in mehreren Kolonien an der deutschen Nordseeküste (Abb. 1). Im Wattenmeer dominierten Heringsartige, Plattfische oder Krebse, an der Festlandsküste Stichlinge aus Binnengewässern (Abb. 1, 2). In Jahren mit großem Stichlingsanteil an den Nahrungstierfunden traten Reste dieses Fisches auch häufiger und in größerer Zahl in den Speiballen auf (Abb. 2, 6, 7). Bei einigen Nahrungsfischen (Stichling, Seenadel, Stint) entsprachen die Trends ihrer Häufigkeit in Nahrungstierfunden und Speiballen dem Nahrungstierangebot (Dredgefänge, vgl. Abb. 2, 6, 8, Tab.), nach dem sich Flußseeschwalben demnach bei ihrer Nahrungswahl richten. An der Festlandsküste wurden mehr Nahrungstiere und Nahrungstierarten als am Wattenmeerbrutplatz Minsener Oldeoog aufgefunden (Abb. 2, Anhang). Die Zahl der Nahrungstiere je Probe von einzelnen Bruten war von Jahr zu Jahr und Gebiet zu Gebiet unterschiedlich (Abb. 3): Am Festlandsküstenbrutplatz Augustgroden fanden sich mehr Nahrungstiere je Probe als auf Minsener Oldeoog, was auf ein günstigeres Nahrungstierangebot, bedingt insbesondere durch Fisch aus Binnengewässern, hinweist. Da Nahrungstierfunde am Nest nicht nur vom Angebot, sondern auch vom „Beliebtheitsgrad“ eines Futtertieres abhängen und da Speiballen nur bei schwer verdaulichen Nahrungsbestandteilen gebildet werden, spiegeln beide Methoden die quantitative Zusammensetzung nur bedingt wider. So dürften Heringsartige unter-, Plattfische und Stichlinge dagegen überrepräsentiert sein.

Summary

By means of prey species and pellets found at the nesting sites we studied the geographical and annual variation of Common Tern food in several colonies on the German North Sea coast (Fig. 1). Significant differences between study areas and years were found. While clupeids, flat-fish or crustaceans dominated in Wadden Sea colonies, sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) — mostly caught in inland waters - were an important prey species of the coastal colonies (Fig. 1, 2). Common Terns breeding on Wadden Sea islands chose sticklebacks only rarely for food. In years when sticklebacks made up a great part of the prey found at the nest, remains of this fish species occured more often and in greater numbers in the pellets, too (Fig. 2, 6, 7). With some prey fishes (sticklebacks, pipefishSygnatus rostellatus, smeltOsmerus eperlanus) the trends in frequency of occurrence in prey and pellets corresponded to the food supply (dredge; Fig. 2, 6, 8, Table) according to which Common Terns adapt their food selection. In coastal colonies more prey items and species were found than in the Wadden Sea colony on Minsener Oldeoog (Fig. 2, appendix). The number of prey items per sample of single broods varied annually and geographically (Fig. 3): At the coastal colony site Augustgroden we found more prey items per sample than on Minsener Oldeoog, which indicates a more convenient food supply, due to especially the freshwater fish. As samples of prey at the nest depend not only on food supply and selection but also on food preferences of the chicks, and as only the indigestible parts of food produce pellets, neither method of study reveals more than an incomplete picture of the importance of different food species. Hence, at our study sites clupeids seem underrepresented, whereas flatfish and sticklebacks appear to be overrepresented.

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Becker, P.H., Frank, D. & Walter, U. Geographische und jährliche Variation der Ernährung der Flußseeschwalbe (Sterna hirundo) an der Nordseeküste. J Ornithol 128, 457–475 (1987). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01644661

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