Comments: FORAGING: Shallow water (usually less than 15 centimeters deep); saline, hypersaline, or brackish coastal habitats including barren sand or mud tidal flats, salt ponds, lagoons, and open red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) and black mangrove (Avicennia germinans) communities (Paul 1991, Stevenson and Anderson 1994, Stiles and Skutch 1989). Occasionally feeds in other habitats including coastal beaches, sparsely-vegetated freshwater marshes, and the shores of lake and reservoirs (Paul 1991).
NESTING: Typically nests on natural islands or man-made dredge spoil islands, but occasionally nests on the coastal mainland (Paul 1991). Nests are generally constructed in red, black, and white (Laguncularia racemosa) mangroves, but also in terrestrial vegetation including Brazilian pepper (Schinus TEREBINTHEFOLIUS), cactus (Opuntia spp.), mesquite (Prosopis spp.), huisache (Acacia spp.), ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia), sea oxeye daisy (Borrichia frutescens), sea purslane (Sesuvium portulacastrum), camphor daisy (Machaeranthera phyllocephala), and spanish bayonet (Yucca spp.). Nests are generally constructed less than 3 meters above the ground or water, but can be as high as 6 meters (McMurray 1971, Stevenson and Anderson 1994). Sometimes nests are placed on the ground among low vegetation or on bare sand or shell beach ridges (Bent 1926, McMurray 1971, Paul 1991, Paul et al. 1979, Simersky 1971, Stevenson and Anderson 1994, Toland 1991).