The functional response, i.e. the change in per capita food intake rate per time unit with changed food availability, is a widely used too] for understanding the ecology and behaviour of animals. However, waterfowl remain poorly explored in this context. In an aviary experiment we derived a functional response curve for teal (Anas crecca) foraging on rice (Oryza sativa) seeds. We found a linear relationship between intake rate and seed density, as expected for a filter-feeder. At high seed densities we found a threshold, above which intake rate still increased linearly but with a lower slope, possibly reflecting a switch from filter-feeding to a scooping foraging mode. The present study shows that food intake rate in teal is linearly related to food availability within the range of naturally occurring seed densities, a finding with major implications for management and conservation of wetland habitats.
- Biologi (106)