Foraging, nutrition, and energetics of waterfowl: a European perspective

Matthieu Guillemain, Claire A. Pernollet, Céline Arzel, Johan Elmberg, John Eadie

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


    Much attention has historically been devoted to feeding ecology of waterfowl, providing an extensive research record for Europe and North America alike. However, research in this field has gradually followed different paths on the two continents. American scientists have adopted a more applied perspective, often aiming at assessing the extent to which food requirements of waterfowl can be fulfilled in different habitats, and how management of these can increase carrying capacity. As opposed to this "energetic" approach, European scientists have rather framed their studies in a "behavioral" perspective, using waterfowl as model species for more theoretical approaches to foraging ecology. Consequently, while North American research has most often been carried out at the scale of waterfowl populations, the individual bird has more frequently been the scale of study in Europe. We present three examples of such European studies: first, a detailed analysis of the trade-offs made by dabbling ducks between foraging and anti-predator vigilance, leading to divergent strategies to face gradual food depletion during the winter. Second, we do a flyway-scale analysis of duck foraging needs and behavior, from Mediterranean wintering grounds to breeding sites in the Boreal, and point out the main hurdles faced by these birds across their annual cycle. Such detailed European studies can provide useful parameter values to fuel modern agent-based models of habitat use and carrying capacity developed in North America, hence cross-fertilizing the approaches on the two continents. This is exactly what our third example is about; namely adapting the SWAMP model developed in California to better understand and predict the use of harvested rice fields by wintering ducks in southern France.

    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    Event7th North American Duck Symposium, Annapolis, MD, 2-5 February 2016 -
    Duration: 1980-Jan-01 → …


    Conference7th North American Duck Symposium, Annapolis, MD, 2-5 February 2016
    Period80-01-01 → …

    Swedish Standard Keywords

    • Biological Sciences (106)


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