High foraging site fidelity and spatial segregation among individual great black‐backed gulls

Borrmann, Rachel M.; Phillips, Richard A.; Clay, Thomas A. ORCID:; Garthe, Stefan. 2019 High foraging site fidelity and spatial segregation among individual great black‐backed gulls. Journal of Avian Biology, 50 (12), e02156. 10, pp.

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This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Borrmann, R. M., Phillips, R. A., Clay, T. A. and Garthe, S. (2019), High foraging site fidelity and spatial segregation among individual great black‐backed gulls. J Avian Biol., which has been published in final form at doi:10.1111/jav.02156. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.
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Individual foraging site fidelity, whereby individuals repeatedly visit the same foraging areas, is widespread in nature, and likely benefits individuals through higher foraging efficiency and potentially, higher breeding success. It may arise as a consequence of habitat or resource specialisation, or alternatively, where resources are abundant or predictable, the partitioning of space might guarantee individuals exclusive foraging opportunities. We tracked seven adult great black‐backed gulls Larus marinus at a North Sea colony from early incubation to the end of the breeding season in 2016, providing a total of 1,170 foraging trips over a mean ± SD tracking period of 67 ± 16 days. There was clear spatial segregation between individuals, with almost no overlap of their core areas (50% utilisation distribution) during incubation and chick‐rearing. Core areas were relatively small and there was high repeatability (R ± SE) in foraging parameters, including initial departure direction (0.73 ± 0.11), foraging range (0.41 ± 0.14) and cumulative distance travelled (0.19 ± 0.1) throughout the breeding season. Despite the low spatial overlap, there was little evidence of differential habitat use by individuals. The near‐exclusive individual foraging areas of this species, usually considered to be a generalist, indicate that where there is high resource availability throughout the breeding season and a small local population, individuals appear to adopt a territorial strategy which likely reduces intraspecific competition.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0908-8857
Additional Keywords: Repeatability; seasonal consistency; individual foraging site fidelity; territoriality; movement ecology; seabird; great black-backed gull (Larus marinus); Wadden Sea
Date made live: 11 Nov 2019 18:16 +0 (UTC)

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