Gull-billed Terns (Gelochelidon nilotica) comprise a group of cosmopolitan subspecies that make use of a wide range of aquatic ecosystems and have a broad dietary spectrum. This study documents the use of a southwestern Atlantic mudflat in Argentina and depredation of the southwestern Atlantic fiddler crab (Uca uruguayensis) by Gull-billed Terns. Gull-billed Terns preyed exclusively on male fiddler crabs. This may have been due to the observed presence of Gull-billed Terns mainly between 2 and 3 hr after low tide, when more than 80% of fiddler crabs active on the surface were males. Gull-billed Terns spent 66.9% of the time flying over and feeding on fiddler crabs. Gull-billed Terns landed without feeding 9.3% of the time. Gull-billed Terns succeeded in capturing prey in 29.8% of cases. Food capture rate of Gull-billed Terns was 68.9 items/hr, which is higher than rates reported for the species feeding on fiddler crabs in Mauritania and Guinea Bissau.
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Vol. 41 • No. 1