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    Diet and feeding ecology of the diving petrels Pelecanoides georgicus and P. urinatrix at South Georgia

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    Document Number:
    WG-EMM-97/10
    Author(s):
    Croxall, J.P., Prince, P.A., Hill, H.J., Edwards, T.M., Reid, K.
    Agenda Item(s)
    Abstract

    The diet of the diving petrels Pelecanoides georgicus and P. urinatrix was studied during 1986 (P. georgicus) and 1987 (both species) by lavaging adults as they returned to feed chicks on Bird Island, South Georgia. The diet of both species was dominated by crustaceans. in particular euphausiids (mainly Euphausia superba and some ThysCll1oessa), which contributed 47-76% of the biomass of crustaceans in the diet of P. georgicus. and copepods, which contributed 71 % of the biomass of crustaceans in the diet of P. urinatrix. Calanoides acutus was the most numerous copepod in the diet of both species; however, Rhincocalamus gigas was more common in P. urinatrix than in P. georgicus. The dominant amphipod in the diet of P. georgicus, Primo macropa, was absent from the diet of Pelecanoides urinatrix, in which Themisto gaudichaudii (rare in Pelecanoides georgicus) dominated. Dietary differences were maintained in the period (2 weeks of a total of 10 weeks) when both species were simultaneously rearing chicks. Knowledge of the prey species and of the diving abilities and foraging habits of diving petrels suggests that at South Georgia Pelecanoides urinatrix feeds closer inshore and dives deeper than Pelecanoides georgicus.

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