The pilfering of puffins: behavioural tactics of herring gulls and Atlantic puffins during kleptoparasitic competition

Busniuk, Kaylee (2019) The pilfering of puffins: behavioural tactics of herring gulls and Atlantic puffins during kleptoparasitic competition. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

Kleptoparasitism is a foraging strategy whereby an individual steals a procured food item from another individual. Individuals can optimize their kleptoparasitic foraging strategy by modifying their behaviour to expend less energy than they would by foraging independently or by attacking more profitable hosts. Individuals vulnerable to becoming a host to a kleptoparasite can modify their behaviour to reduce the risk of losing prey to a kleptoparasite by using tactics such as handling food in areas inaccessible to the kleptoparasite or landing in groups. Observations of individual herring gulls (Larus argentatus) and approaches to the burrow slope by Atlantic puffins (Fratercula arctica) were conduced in summer 2018 on Gull Island, Newfoundland and Labrador. The findings of this study suggest that herring gulls optimize their kleptoparasitic foraging strategy by targeting more profitable hosts, and that puffins at risk of kleptoparasitism effectively mitigate their risk by engaging in evasive behaviour.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/14332
Item ID: 14332
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references.
Keywords: Atlantic puffin, herring gull, kleptoparasitism, foraging, seabird, competition, behaviour
Department(s): Science, Faculty of > Cognitive and Behavioural Ecology
Date: December 2019
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Larus argentatus--Ecology--Newfoundland and Labrador; Atlantic puffin--Ecology--Newfoundland and Labrador; Competition (Biology)--Newfoundland and Labrador.

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