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Diurnal activity patterns and nocturnal group formation of wintering common mures in the central North Sea
Camphuysen, C.J. (1998). Diurnal activity patterns and nocturnal group formation of wintering common mures in the central North Sea. Colon. Waterbirds 21(3): 406-413
In: Colonial Waterbirds. Colonial Waterbird Society: De Leon Springs Fla.. ISSN 0738-6028, more
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Keyword
    Marine

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  • Camphuysen, C.J., more

Abstract
    Strong diurnal activity patterns were found in wintering Common Murres (Uria aalge) in the central North Sea. Mean flock size doubled during the daylight period, with alternate times in which either flying or swimming dominated (>70% of murres observed in flight or at sea). The formation of large single or mixed-species aggregations of birds just before sunset at common sleeping areas is described. The results suggest a daily movement of Common Murres to potential feeding areas in the morning with a subsequent dispersal of birds during the day, apparently in response to changes in the availability of fish prey. The formation of large nocturnal aggregations of Common Murres at sea has not been described before. Such concentrations at night may be multifunctional, providing information on the location of suitable food supplies, safety against predators by enabling individuals to relax their personal vigil for potential predators, or giving the birds the opportunity to socialize and prepare for the oncoming breeding season.

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