Diet and foraging behaviour of the Providence Petrel Pterodroma Solandri

Andries Bester, D. Priddel, Nicholas Klomp

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Studies of seabird diet and foraging behaviour contribute to identifying potential threats, particularly interactions between seabirds and fisheries. Diet and foraging behaviour of the Providence Petrel Pterodroma solandri on Lord Howe Island, Australia, were investigated during three consecutive breeding seasons. Diet consisted largely of squid (predominantly Cranchiidae, Onychoteuthidae, Spirulidae and Histioteuthidae) and fish (principally Myctophidae), with crustaceans (mainly Decapoda and Isopoda) being somewhat less important. The presence of mainly temperate, sub-tropical and tropical species in the diet indicates that Providence Petrels forage in warm water. Birds were recorded diving to 5.2 m, suggesting that some food items are captured by diving. The presence of large squid and bird remains in stomach samples, together with observations of kleptoparasitic behaviour, provide evidence of scavenging. Fishing line and metal traces in many stomachs suggest that Providence Petrels are taking discards from fishing boats, although diurnal observations near Lord Howe Island recorded few instances of birds following boats. Plastic was also found in some stomach samples. Further studies are required to determine the level of threat posed to the Providence Petrel by fishing activities and plastic ingestion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-172
Number of pages10
JournalMarine Ornithology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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