New CO.BRA / INAU Project on the
Reproductive Biology of Black Skimmers
and Large-billed Terns

Our team members Mona Hegmann, Julia Nonn, Martin Schley (University of Cologne and Zoological Research Museum A. Koenig, Bonn, Germany), Karina Pinheiro Zaratim, and Filipe Ferreira de Deus (UFMT, Cuiaba, Mato Grosso, Brazil) start this months a field study on the reproductive biology of a mixed inland nesting colony of Black Skimmers (Rynchops niger) and Large-billed Terns (Phaetusa simplex) at an exposed sand bar in the Cuiaba River. Both species breed in the northern Pantanal from June/July to September. During this period the researchers will study the nest site selection, onset of nesting, clutch size, parental care, antagonistic encounters as well as the intraspecific and interspecific acoustic behaviours between parent birds and their young. Another research focus will cover the ontogenetic development of chicks including their growth and survival rate. This project will provide insights into reproductive strategies and fitness parameters of two little studied migratory colony breeders. Information on potential nest site conservation measures is one of the expected outcomes of this research. The project is supported by the Brehm Foundation for International Bird Conservation, Germany; INAU, SESC, and the UFMT, Brazil.

Photo: Colony of Black Skimmers (Rynchops niger, red and black bills) and Large-billed Terns (Phaetusa simplex, yellow bills) at our Rio Cuiaba study site. © INAU / CO.BRA