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First documentation of leopard seal predation of South Georgia pintail duck

Edwards, Ewan; Forcada, Jaume; Crossin, Glenn T.. 2010 First documentation of leopard seal predation of South Georgia pintail duck. Polar Biology, 33 (3). 403-405. 10.1007/s00300-009-0709-z

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Abstract/Summary

Leopard seals are regular winter visitors to Bird Island, South Georgia, where they mostly prey on fur seals and penguins, and to a lesser extent on Antarctic krill and fish. Leopard seals can exploit many different species, but there are no records of predation on flying shorebirds in the wild. On 4 October 2008, an individually identified juvenile leopard seal female was observed killing and eating a South Georgia Pintail duck. It also preyed on Antarctic fur seals and gentoo and macaroni penguins during its 2-month temporary residency around the island. The varied diet of this seal exemplifies the generalist prey utilization typical of its species. Long-term diet studies at Bird Island and the published record suggest that predation on ducks is a rather exceptional finding; individual ducks are more likely to escape leopard seal attacks than penguins and provide a far less substantial ration. This note documents the first observation of this species of duck in the diet of leopard seals.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1007/s00300-009-0709-z
Programmes: BAS Programmes > Polar Science for Planet Earth (2009 - ) > Ecosystems
ISSN: 0722-4060
NORA Subject Terms: Marine Sciences
Zoology
Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 18 Aug 2010 09:18
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/10485

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