The foraging behaviour of the Chough  Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax in two contrasting habitats

ROLANDO A., PATTERSON I. and LAIOLO P.

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Abstract:

The foraging behaviour of the Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax was compared between Alpine and coastal environment at the same time of the year (summer). Choughs in both study areas (Aosta valley in northwestern Italy and the isle of Islay in western Scotland) took a wide range of arthropods but the diet appeared more diverse in the Alpine area. The Aosta Choughs had more variable feeding methods than the Islay ones. Such differences might merely reflect the prey species diversity of the two sites, perhaps in turn depending on the environmental diversity. The length of stay at any one patch was considerably shorter at Aosta, and this might be related to the lower cost of moving in the Alps, by being able to glide along steep slopes. Pecking rates were similar in the two areas, although slightly faster at Aosta. Observations carried out on Islay on colour-ringed individuals suggested that foraging techniques were age-dependent.