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Feeding ecology of long-tailed ducks Clangula hyemalis wintering on the Nantucket Shoals

Waterbirds

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Abstract

A substantial proportion, perhaps 30%, of the North American breeding population of Long-tailed Ducks (Clangula hyemalis) winter in the vicinity of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts. These birds spend the night on Nantucket Sound and commute during daylight hours to the Nantucket Shoals, which extend about 65 km offshore from the southeastern corner of Nantucket. Strip transects done from a single-engine plane in 1997 and 1998 indicated that Long-tailed Ducks foraged over the shallower (<= 20 m depth) portions of the Nantucket Shoals, up to 70 km offshore. Diet analyses of ten birds collected in February 1999 and five in December 2006 showed that they fed principally (106.6 +/- 42.0 individuals per crop) on Gammarus annulatus, a pelagic amphipod that often forms large aggregations, and is consumed by several species of fish and marine mammals. Our findings emphasize the importance of conservation of the Nantucket Shoals and the prevention of oil spills or other potentially harmful accidents.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Feeding ecology of long-tailed ducks Clangula hyemalis wintering on the Nantucket Shoals
Series title:
Waterbirds
Volume
32
Issue:
2
Year Published:
2009
Language:
English
Publisher:
The Waterbird Society
Publisher location:
Waco, TX
Contributing office(s):
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description:
7 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Waterbirds
First page:
293
Last page:
299
Country:
United States
State:
Massachusetts
Other Geospatial:
Nantucket Island