1 September 2018 Usurpation of an Interior Least Tern (Sternula antillarum athalassos) Nest by Piping Plovers (Charadrius melodus)
Lauren R. Dinan, Alisa Halpin, Ann Briggs, Mary Bomb erger Brown, Joel G. Jorgensen
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Abstract

Nest usurpation is a strategy in which an individual or pair of one species takes over the nest of another species. This is the first documented occurrence of a Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) pair usurping an Interior Least Tern (Sternula antillarum athalassos) nest. The Piping Plovers incubated the three Interior Least Tern eggs in the nest, and all three eggs hatched. The adult Piping Plovers accompanied and brooded the Interior Least Tern chicks for 1 day post-hatching, but we did not see the adult Piping Plovers nor the Interior Least Tern chicks after that day. The Piping Plovers likely usurped the Interior Least Tern nest because they developed hormonemediated broodiness after they lost the eggs from their two previous nesting attempts. When the Piping Plovers encountered an unattended Interior Least Tern nest with eggs, they instinctively took the nest and its contents as their own.

Lauren R. Dinan, Alisa Halpin, Ann Briggs, Mary Bomb erger Brown, and Joel G. Jorgensen "Usurpation of an Interior Least Tern (Sternula antillarum athalassos) Nest by Piping Plovers (Charadrius melodus)," Waterbirds 41(3), 322-325, (1 September 2018). https://doi.org/10.1675/063.041.0313
Received: 18 January 2018; Accepted: 28 March 2018; Published: 1 September 2018
KEYWORDS
Charadrius melodus
Interior Least Tern
nest usurpation
Piping Plover
Sternula antillarum athalassos
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