Scientific Journal of the BirdLife Hungary

A Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület tudományos folyóirata

Ornis Hungarica. vol.22(1). (2014) p.76-80.

An unexpected case of heterospecific altruistic behaviour in a non-breeding migrant tern (Charadriformes, Sternidae)
Giacomo Bruni, Mattia Menchetti, Giulia Ricciardi, Andrea Vannini & Emiliano Mori

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Observations of birds feeding chicks or fledglings of a different species have already been reported in many publications. However, the benefits of the altruistic behaviour are not easy to understand, as benefits and costs of this behaviour have been poorly identified. In May 2013, in a wetland in Central Italy (Piana Fiorentina, Tuscany), some cases of interspecific feeding of an Eurasian Coot Fulica atra chick by an adult non breeding Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida were witnessed. We suggest that the behaviour of the Tern was triggered by the begging of the chick or by its own hormonal status.