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Volume 2014, Article ID 907549, 16 pages
Research Article

Reproductive Dynamics of Sterna hirundinacea Lesson, 1831 in Ilha dos Cardos, Santa Catarina, Brazil

1Universidade Federal de São Carlos, CP 676, 13565-905 São Carlos, SP, Brazil
2Centro de Ensino em Ciências Tecnológicas da Terra e do Mar, UNIVALI, CP 360, 88301-970, Itajaí, SC, Brazil
3Setor de Biodiversidade e Ecologia, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde, Universidade Federal de Alagoas, Praça Afranio Jorge, s/n, Prado, 57010-020 Maceió, AL, Brazil
4Azorean Biodiversity Group (CITA-A) and Platform for Enhancing Ecological Research & Sustainability (PEERS), Departamento de Ciências Agrárias, Universidade dos Açores, Rua Capitão João D’Ávila, 9700-042 Angra do Heroísmo, Portugal

Received 20 January 2014; Accepted 8 May 2014; Published 28 May 2014

Academic Editor: Pablo M. Vergara

Copyright © 2014 Hélio Augusto Alves Fracasso et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In this work, we intend to describe the reproductive dynamics of Sterna hirundinacea in an island from South Brazil. We studied the reproductive biology of this species in its natural environment and provide data on their growth, survival, and reproductive success in Ilha dos Cardos, Santa Catarina, South Brazil. Samplings were carried out daily on the island throughout the reproductive seasons of 2003, 2005, and 2006 and the different stages of development of the chicks were characterized according to age, length of the beak, and plumage characteristics. We provide a basic equation to determine the approximate age of individuals using their body mass. The main cause of chick mortality on the island was natural (63.17% in 2003, 81.41% in 2005, and 79.96% in 2006), whereas predation contributed to mortality in a proportion of 38.83% in 2003, 18.59% in 2005, and 20.04% in 2006. The absence in the area of the chicks’ main predator, Kelp gull (Larus dominicanus), the large number of chicks that reached the final stages of development, and their reproductive success demonstrate that Ilha dos Cardos is an important breeding site for the species in southern Brazil.