VAN DER WINDEN J, HOTTTING M, WEEDA S, VOS R, BOM R, KREETZ T CIMIOTTI D & DREEF C (2021) Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica breeds in pioneer habitat of Marker Wadden. LIMOSA 94 (3): 124-127.
Since the sixties, the population of Gull-billed Terns in
Northwest Europe had declined substantially in numbers and
distribution, with only one colony remaining in the German
Elbe estuary nowadays. Predator-exclusion fencing led to
increased reproduction in this colony. In the Netherlands,
Gull-billed Terns bred regularly until around 1958 and there
was one incidental breeding attempt at Balgzand NH in 2005.
In May 2020, a Gull-billed Tern pair started nesting in a mixed
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus, Pied Avocet
Recurvirostra avosetta and Common Tern Sterna hirundo
colony at the newly created Marker Wadden archipelago,
situated in Markermeer Flevoland. On June 5th, two eggs
were present, from which at least one chick hatched on
June 7th. For unknown reasons no chicks fledged. We colourringed one of the parents and a wildlife camera took pictures
of it in northern Germany (at Beltringharder Koog) on June
30th. This indicates the ability of the species to disperse vast
distances (> 300 km) during the breeding season. The current
efforts to create new islands with marsh habitats at Marker
Wadden in 2017 resulted in the return of this enigmatic
species. This is encouraging for many comparable projects
foreseen in the coming years.
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