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The winter feeding of the Purple Sandpiper
Feare, C.J. (1966). The winter feeding of the Purple Sandpiper. Br. Birds 59(5): 165-179
In: British Birds. Macmillan Journals: London. ISSN 0007-0335, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Feeding; Winter; Calidris maritima (Brünnich, 1764) [WoRMS]; Marine

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  • Feare, C.J.

    The winter food and feeding habits of a flock of 39 Purple Sandpipers Calidris maritima at Robin Hood's Bay, North Yorkshire, from mid-November 1965 to mid-January 1966 are described with supplementary observations on another flock of similar size on Filey Brig, East Yorkshire. The composition of the diet of these birds was determined by analysing faeces; owing to the nature of the food this was considered to be a reliable indicator of what they were eating. The feeding routine involved both diurnal and tidal rhythms of behaviour. The principal food organisms were small winkles Littorina spp. and first-year dogwhelks Thais lapillus; small mussels Mytilus edulis and crabs Carcinus maenas were important reserve foods. The presence of winkles and dogwhelks in the faeces was related to the distribution of those organisms on the shore. The Purple Sandpipers took only a restricted size range of each prey species. Their bill and gizzard adaptations are described. It is concluded that Purple Sandpipers form an integral part of the littoral fauna of Robin Hood's Bay during the winter, and probable reasons for their local distribution are given.

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