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Opportunistic feeding responses of the Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis to accessibility of refuse dumps

Opportunistic feeding responses of the Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis to accessibility of... Capsule The gulls adjust their diet composition and diversity according to refuse dump accessibility. Aims To examine the influence of the accessibility of open-air refuse dumps on the pre-laying diet of the adult Yellow-legged Gull. Methods We studied six colonies settled on six rocky islands off the southeastern coast of France. A comparative study of the diet of breeding adults from the six colonies was made through pellet analysis (a total of 848 pellets). We determined the main foraging habitat used (refuse dumps, terrestrial habitats, marine habitat) and the number of foraging habitats used simultaneously (one, two or three), from which we deduced the mean diet diversity. Results Refuse dumps were consistently the main foraging habitat (evidence in 53–74% of pellets) for the six colonies, even when refuse dump accessibility was low. The majority of pellets contained materials from two simultaneous foraging habitats (evidence in 50–64% of pellets). We demonstrated the influence of a gradient of refuse dump accessibility in terms of adjustment of the pre-laying adult's diet. Indeed, high refuse dump accessibility leads to a poorly diversified diet dominated by refuse. In contrast, when refuse dump accessibility is low, Yellow-legged Gulls broaden their trophic niche, with an increased exploitation of alternative foraging habitats, such as terrestrial habitats. Conclusion These results show the species' opportunistic feeding and high adaptability, two parameters which need to be known to foresee the consequences on population dynamics, feeding and predatory behaviour of a sudden and severe food shortage, for example due to closure of open-air refuse dumps. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Bird Study Taylor & Francis

Opportunistic feeding responses of the Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis to accessibility of refuse dumps

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References (33)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN
1944-6705
eISSN
0006-3657
DOI
10.1080/00063650309461291
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Capsule The gulls adjust their diet composition and diversity according to refuse dump accessibility. Aims To examine the influence of the accessibility of open-air refuse dumps on the pre-laying diet of the adult Yellow-legged Gull. Methods We studied six colonies settled on six rocky islands off the southeastern coast of France. A comparative study of the diet of breeding adults from the six colonies was made through pellet analysis (a total of 848 pellets). We determined the main foraging habitat used (refuse dumps, terrestrial habitats, marine habitat) and the number of foraging habitats used simultaneously (one, two or three), from which we deduced the mean diet diversity. Results Refuse dumps were consistently the main foraging habitat (evidence in 53–74% of pellets) for the six colonies, even when refuse dump accessibility was low. The majority of pellets contained materials from two simultaneous foraging habitats (evidence in 50–64% of pellets). We demonstrated the influence of a gradient of refuse dump accessibility in terms of adjustment of the pre-laying adult's diet. Indeed, high refuse dump accessibility leads to a poorly diversified diet dominated by refuse. In contrast, when refuse dump accessibility is low, Yellow-legged Gulls broaden their trophic niche, with an increased exploitation of alternative foraging habitats, such as terrestrial habitats. Conclusion These results show the species' opportunistic feeding and high adaptability, two parameters which need to be known to foresee the consequences on population dynamics, feeding and predatory behaviour of a sudden and severe food shortage, for example due to closure of open-air refuse dumps.

Journal

Bird StudyTaylor & Francis

Published: Mar 1, 2003

Keywords: Yellow-legged Gull; Larus michahellis; refuse dumps

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