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Bar-tailed Godwits Limosa l. lapponica eat polychaete worms wherever they winter in Europe
Duijns, S.; Hidayati, N.A.; Piersma, T. (2013). Bar-tailed Godwits Limosa l. lapponica eat polychaete worms wherever they winter in Europe. Bird Study 60(4): 509-517.
In: Bird Study. British Trust for Ornithology: Oxford. ISSN 0006-3657, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Duijns, S., more
  • Hidayati, N.A.
  • Piersma, T., more

    Capsule Across the European wintering range Bar-tailed Godwits Limosa lapponica lapponica selected polychaete worms and especially Ragworms Hediste diversicolor, with differences between areas due to variations in prey availability.Aims To determine the diet of Bar-tailed Godwits across their wintering range in Europe by the analysis of droppings, collected at five important wintering sites.Methods Diet was estimated by the identification of undigested prey remains in droppings. We provide the rationale for quantifying the contributions of jawed and non-jawed polychaetes.Results We identified 18 different prey species in the diet of wintering Bar-tailed Godwits. The Ragworm was the most common prey item and the only one actively selected. Ragworms, on average, contributed 79% to the diet in terms of biomass, followed by King Ragworm Alitta virens (with 17% biomass) and Lugworms Arenicola marina (with 2%). Polychaetes such as Alitta succinea and Scoloplos armiger were also regularly found in the diet. Bivalves, snails and crustaceans contributed less than 1% to the diet.Conclusion This study highlights and confirms the importance of polychaete worms in the diet of European-wintering Bar-tailed Godwits.

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