Colony Formation in Seabirds

  • Sergei P. Kharitonov
  • Douglas Siegel-Causey
Part of the Current Ornithology book series (CUOR, volume 5)


Colonial nesting in seabirds and other water birds is widespread, but it is relatively rare in other birds (Lack, 1966). A colony is a breeding aggregation of birds characterized by many individuals nesting close to each other, generally feeding outside the nesting area, and organized by various types of social stimulation and elements of flock behavior and other features (Crook, 1965; Modestov, 1967; Zubakin et ai., 1983; Götmark and Andersson, 1984). Colonies may have an internal structure in which there are elements of territoriality and social synchrony (Naumov, 1972). The processes of how colonies form and function have been investigated emphasizing two distinct points of view. The first is the phylogeny of coloniality—the formation of colonies in context of evolutionary processes; the second is the ontogeny of coloniality—the formation of colonies during the season of reproduction.


Colony Formation Nest Site Common Tern Colony Site Colony Area 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sergei P. Kharitonov
    • 1
  • Douglas Siegel-Causey
    • 2
  1. 1.The Center of Ringing and Marking BirdsUSSR Academy of SciencesMoscow 240USSR
  2. 2.Museum of Natural History and Department of Systematics and EcologyUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA

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