Foraging site selection of two subspecies of Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica: time minimizers accept greater predation danger than energy minimizers

S. Duijns, J.G.B. van Dijk, B. Spaans, J. Jukema, W.F. de Boer, Th. Piersma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Different spatial distributions of food abundance and predators may urge birds to make a trade-off between food intake and danger. Such a trade-off might be solved in different ways in migrant birds that either follow a time-minimizing or energy-minimizing strategy; these strategies have been assigned to two subspecies of Bar-tailed Godwits Limosa lapponica that use the European Wadden Sea during northward migration. At the study area on Terschelling, we recorded feeding site selection, time budgets and intake rates (prey/min) in the period that both lapponica (energy minimizer) and taymyrensis (time minimizer) subspecies were present (late April till the end of May 2007). Prey availability (number of prey/m2) was negatively correlated to the distance from cover. Based on sightings of colour-ringed Bar-tailed Godwits, taymyrensis was foraging closer to cover, and for a higher proportion of time than lapponica (67% vs. 33%). During the high tide period taymyrensis was also foraging on inland coastal meadows. Moreover, taymyrensis was more vigilant than lapponica, whereas lapponica showed more resting and preening behaviour. Lapponica had a higher instantaneous intake rate, but taymyrensis had a higher overall intake rate and the birds were more successful in taking larger prey items than lapponica. Supposedly, due to the increased foraging time and additional foraging on the inland meadows, the time-minimizing taymyrensis achieved a higher fuel deposition rate than lapponica. Taymyrensis shifted towards food-rich areas, apparently accepting higher predation risks, whereas energy-minimizing lapponica avoided predation danger by foraging further from cover
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-59
JournalArdea
Volume97
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Keywords

  • long-distance migrant
  • stopover site
  • migration strategies
  • relative importance
  • western sandpipers
  • raptor predation
  • calidris-mauri
  • bird migration
  • large falcons
  • banc-darguin

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