Diet and prey selection of shorebirds on salt pans in the Mondego estuary, western Portugal

Authors: Patrícia PEDRO and Jaime A. RAMOS


Published: Volume 56(1), June 2009. Pages 1-11.

Language: Spanish

Original Title: Dieta y selección de presas de algunos limícolas en las salinas del estuario del río Mondego, oeste de Portugal

Keywords: Chironomidae, droppings, prey selection, salt pans and supratidal habitats.


Aims: This study examines diurnal diet and prey size selection of kentish plover Charadrius alexandrinus, ringed plover Charadrius hiaticula and dunlin Calidris alpina on salt pans.

Location: The work was carried out on the salt pans of the Mondego estuary, western Portugal.

Methods: To study diet and prey availability, we collected bird droppings and sediment samples to a  depth of 5 cm in salt pans heavily used by the birds. The proportion of each prey item was compared between faecal and sediment samples.

Results: The major patterns in diet among seasons and species were due to the consumption of Chironomidae and Ephydridae larvae, highly abundant during winter and spring, respectively.

Conclusion: All three shorebird species consumed the most abundant prey items and prey-sizes in the salt pans, notably larvae of Chironomus spp.

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