Every-other-day clutch-initiation synchrony in ring-billed gulls (Larus Delawarensis)
Fraser Darling suggested that reproductive synchrony enhances reproductive success of colonial seabirds as a result of predator satiation. However, the cost of yearly reproductive synchrony is high for colonial species for which intraspecific predation is the primary cause of egg and chick loss. A few studies indicate that egg-laying synchrony on a daily time scale within the annual breeding pulse may be an adaptive response to intraspecific predation. Here, we report every-other-day clutch-initiation synchrony in densely nesting cohorts of Ring-billed Gulls (Larus delawarensis). This is the second known case of clutch-initiation synchrony on a daily time scale in larids, the first being for Glaucous-winged Gulls (L. glaucescens). In both Ring-billed Gulls and Glaucous-winged Gulls, the degree of clutch-initiation synchrony is inversely related to nearest neighbor distance. Further studies are needed to test whether clutch-initiation synchrony in Ring-billed Gulls is adaptive in the presence of cannibalism, or if it is simply a neutral byproduct of colonial nesting.
Wilson Journal of Ornithology
Sandler, Amanda; Megna, Libby C.; Hayward, James; Henson, Shandelle M.; Tkachuck, Cynthia; and Tkachuck, Richard, "Every-other-day clutch-initiation synchrony in ring-billed gulls (Larus Delawarensis)" (2016). Faculty Publications. 257.