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Feeding ecology of sympatric European shags Phalacrocorax aristotelis and great cormorants P. carbo in Iceland
Lilliendahl, K.; Solmundsson, J. (2006). Feeding ecology of sympatric European shags Phalacrocorax aristotelis and great cormorants P. carbo in Iceland. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 149(4): 979-990. hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00227-006-0259-7
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Lilliendahl, K.
  • Solmundsson, J.

Abstract
    The feeding ecology of the European shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis) and the great cormorant (P. carbo) in Iceland was studied. These bird species may affect their marine environment, for instance, by predating on several commercially important fish species in coastal waters. The shag and cormorant diets were studied throughout the year in the period 1996–2000 by analysing the content of about 300 stomachs from each species. The shag relies heavily on sandeel (Ammodytes marinus) in the breeding season, whereas bull-rout (Myoxocephalus scorpius) and gadoids (Gadidae) become increasingly important in autumn and winter. The main food of the cormorant in all areas and seasons is the bull-rout. Depending on location and season, secondary food consists mainly of butterfish (Pholis gunnellus), gadoids and flatfishes (Pleuronectiformes). Similarity in diets of these two co-existing bird species was least in the breeding season when overlap in the birds’ distribution was greatest. The results suggest that predation by shags and cormorants could sometimes affect the stocks of the commercially important saithe (Pollachius virens) and plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) in Iceland.

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