Supplementary food provision enhances fledging success of lesser black-backed gulls Larus fuscus nesting at Boschplaat Nature Reserve, Terschelling, Friesland, the Netherlands

  • Published source details Bukacinski D., Bukacinska M. & Spaans A.L. (1998) Experimental evidence for the relationship between food supply, parental effort and chick survival in the lesser black-backed gull Larus fuscus. Ibis, 140, 422-430


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Provide supplementary food for gulls, terns and skuas to increase reproductive success

Action Link
Bird Conservation
  1. Provide supplementary food for gulls, terns and skuas to increase reproductive success

    A randomised, replicated and controlled study at a mixed gull colony on the island of Terschelling, the Netherlands, in April-July 1992 (Bukacinski et al. 1998) found that pairs of lesser black-backed gulls Larus fuscus whose chicks were provided with supplementary food until fledging had significantly higher fledging success than control pairs (1.9 fledglings/nest and 87% of nests fledging at least one chick for 12 fed nests vs. 0.9 fledglings/nest and 56% success for 14 control nests). Fledging success of pairs whose chicks were fed until seven days old was intermediate (1.3 fledglings/nest and 67% success, 12 nests). In addition, significantly fewer chicks were predated in fed nests (0.5 chicks/nest for fully fed nests; 0.8 chicks/nest for partially fed and 1.3 chicks/nest for control nests). There were no significant differences in clutch size, egg size or hatching success between groups. Food was provided at an average of 46 g/day increasing to 76 g/day after a week and 150 g after three weeks, continuing until approximately 40 days old.


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