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Indirect cannibalism by crèche-aged American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) chicks

Canadian Field-Naturalist

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Abstract

At nesting colonies of American White Pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos), many chicks die from siblicide, severe weather, and disease; this results in carcasses available for scavenging by conspecifics (i.e., indirect cannibalism). Indirect cannibalism has not been reported previously for this species. We describe five cases of crèche-aged American White Pelican chicks consuming or attempting to consume dead younger chicks at two nesting colonies in the northern plains of North America. Cannibalism in the American White Pelican appears to be rare and likely plays no role in the species’ population ecology or dynamics; however, it might be an important survival strategy of individual chicks when food resources are limited.

Geospatial Extents

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Indirect cannibalism by crèche-aged American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) chicks
Series title:
Canadian Field-Naturalist
Volume
127
Issue:
1
Year Published:
2013
Language:
English
Publisher:
Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club
Contributing office(s):
Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Description:
4 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Canadian Field-Naturalist
First page:
72
Last page:
75
Number of Pages:
4
Country:
United States
State:
North Dakota;South Dakota
Other Geospatial:
Bitter Lake;Chase Lake