Volume 49, No. 2

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A Common Tern Sterna hirundo capturing an airborne flying squid: A novel foraging technique?




TIONGSON, A.J.C. 2021. A Common Tern Sterna hirundo capturing an airborne flying squid: A novel foraging technique?. Marine Ornithology 49: 253 - 255

Received 13 April 2021, accepted 09 June 2021

Date Published: 2021/10/15
Date Online: 2021/09/30
Key words: aerial feeding, Philippines, Ommastrephidae, seabirds, Sternidae


Seabirds forage in the air-water interface and have adapted various feeding techniques to exploit resources at or beneath the surface. Here I present photographic evidence of a novel feeding technique by an Eastern Common Tern Sterna hirundo longipennis: the capture of an airborne flying squid. Terns are generally plunge-divers for fish or shrimp, but they are also known to feed extensively on insects and occasionally by kleptoparasitism. Aerial pursuit/capture may be more common among seabirds in areas where flying prey are abundant. This new observation highlights the opportunistic nature and flexibility of seabirds in obtaining prey, as well as the paucity of prior seabird observations in tropical Southeast Asia.


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