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1 July 2007 Seasonal Diet of the Grey Heron Ardea cinerea on an Oceanic Island (Tenerife, Canary Islands): Indirect Interaction with Wild Seed Plants
Airam Rodriguez, Beneharo Rodríguez, Beatriz Rumeu, Manuel Nogales
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In 199 pellets analyzed a total of 7 460 prey items were counted, 96.2% of which were arthropods. Aeshnidae larvae (Odonata) made up 66.1% of the total prey items and were the main invertebrate group. Vertebrates constituted 3.8%, with reptiles and mammals being the main prey of this type (1.8% each). Despite the small size of the invertebrates, this group reached > 60% in terms of biomass. All the main prey items varied significantly among seasons. Odonata was the most important group in all seasons, reaching its maximum value in summer. In the case of vertebrates, reptiles were captured mainly in spring, mammals in winter. With regard to indirect interaction with seeds, a total of 901 seeds associated with lizard remains were found in 77 pellets, indicating that they had previously been consumed by these reptiles. External visual damage of seeds was low and only 1.1% was destroyed. No seeds germinated after the four-month germination experiment and practically all of them were unviable. In conclusion, these results indicate that Grey Heron diet on islands varies in comparison with continental zones, including an important number of invertebrates and reptiles. Furthermore, this bird acts as an opportunistic secondary seed disperser, although its ecological effect does not seem to be very significant for the dynamics of the Canary Island ecosystems.



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Airam Rodriguez, Beneharo Rodríguez, Beatriz Rumeu, and Manuel Nogales "Seasonal Diet of the Grey Heron Ardea cinerea on an Oceanic Island (Tenerife, Canary Islands): Indirect Interaction with Wild Seed Plants," Acta Ornithologica 42(1), 77-87, (1 July 2007).
Received: 1 November 2006; Accepted: 1 February 2007; Published: 1 July 2007
Ardea cinerea
feeding ecology
Grey Heron
seasonal diet pattern
secondary seed disperser
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