We examined digestive tract contents and stable nitrogen isotope ratios (??15N) in breast muscles of Buller's shearwaters (Puffinus bulleri) salvaged from squid and largemesh driftnets in the central North Pacific Ocean. The epipelagic Pacific saury (Cololabis saira) was the predominant prey, making up 71% of prey mass in digestive tracts. The remainder of the diet included small numbers of crustaceans, small fishes, and squids. The high degree of specialization in the diet seems to indicate that in the North Pacific, Buller's Shearwaters usually feed at or near the water surface and rarely pursue food under water. Although these birds have been observed feeding on scraps from fishing vessels, our data suggest that offal comprises less than 10% of the diet. Stable nitrogen isotope values provided quantified information on the timing of arrival of migrants into the North Pacific.
Additional publication details
Foods of Buller's shearwaters (Puffinus bulleri) associated with driftnet fisheries in the central North Pacific Ocean