Stage-specific Survival Rates of the Endangered Least Tern(Sterna antillarum) in Northwestern Oklahoma

Least Tern (Sternula antillarum) Science Article 1

abstract

Local populations of the endangered interior least tern (Sterna antillarum) nestwithin riverine and alkaline flat habitats of the central United States. We summarizedestimates of survival for egg, chick, fledgling, subadult (<2 y), andadult (2 y) developmental stages of least terns nesting at Salt Plains NationalWildlife Refuge from past and present research. We also recordedcauses of mortality, physical condition, and morphological measurements ofcaptured or dead least terns. Eggs had the lowest mean survival rate of allstages on the alkaline flat. Data on survival from fledgling to subadult stageswere scant. Adult terns were in good condition at the time of death. Mortalityof eggs and chicks was attributed primarily to mammalian predation and toflooding. Additional research is needed to discern the fate of the fledgling tosubadult stages, protect eggs on the alkaline flat, and enhance recovery objectives.

Sara H. Schweitzer and David M. Leslie, Jr., Proc. Okla. Acad. Sci. 80:53-60(2000)

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