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Foraging Ecology and Nutrition

Gary L. Krapu and Kenneth J. Reinecke


I. Introduction

Reproduction in birds is generally timed so that the breeding cycle coincides with maximum availability of food for nesting adults or developing young (Immelmann, 1971). Food availability to birds can vary widely within and between years, however, with major implications to reproductive success (Pitelka et al., 1955; Kahl, 1964; Simmons et al., 1986). Recruitment among waterfowl may be particularly sensitive to the quantity and quality of food resources available, because the energy and nutrient requirements of egg-laying females are large relative to those of other bird species. In this chapter, we describe adaptive strategies of waterfowl for meeting nutrient requirements for reproduction and assess the significance of food in regulating reproductive performance. Our primary focus is on waterfowl occurring in the United States, Canada, and western Europe because most of the literature on waterfowl feeding ecology is from research conducted on Northern Hemisphere species.


This resource is based on the following source:
Krapu, Gary L., and Kenneth J. Reinecke.  1992.  Foraging ecology and nutrition.
     Ecology and Management of Breeding Waterfowl.  University of Minnesota
     Press, Minneapolis, MN.  Chapter 1:1-29.
This resource should be cited as:
Krapu, Gary L., and Kenneth J. Reinecke.  1992.  Foraging ecology and nutrition.
     Ecology and Management of Breeding Waterfowl.  University of Minnesota
     Press, Minneapolis, MN.  Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online. 
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/birds/ecomanag/foraging/foraging.htm
     (Version 02FEB99).

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