Synchronous breeding and moult in the Brown Noddy tern on Soldado Rock, Trinidad.

Richard ffrench


In most birds the processes of breeding and the main annual moult are mutually exclusive. Breeding usually occurs at times of the year when feeding opportunities are at their highest for the species, so that the parent birds most easily overcome the problems of feeding during incubation and the care of fledglings. My interest in the moult of the Brown Noddy tern, Anous stolidus, began in 1963 when I found that birds breeding on Soldado Rock appeared to be in the middle of a moult cycle. My work with the species in collaboration with the Trinidad Regional Virus Laboratory (ffrench 1990) during 1963-1964 suggested that the species completed its moult very slowly over many months.

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