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Local feeding of kingfishers and mergansers

, : Local feeding of kingfishers and mergansers. Jour Biol Bd Canada 3(4): 323-338

On the Margaree and Apple rivers, Nova Scotia, the belted kingfisher [Megaceryle alcyon] feeds upon the fishes that are most available within its feeding range. In the estuaries many spp. are taken; ascending a river the number becomes less until only salmon and trout (Sal-velinus), or trout alone, constitute the food. By rearing a young bird it was determined that the American merganser [Mergus americanus] pursues its prey by sight under water, being able to see a distance of from 10 feet (3m.) to 2 feet (0.6 m.) or less, depending upon the clearness of the water. The bird consumes daily on the average more than 1/3 of its weight. In nature the broods are reared up stream where young salmon are the dominant fish and constitute the major food item, with trout next. When the supply becomes scarce they shift down stream and in the estuary take the various fishes occurring there. The young red-breasted mergansers [M. senator] were found feeding over areas not frequented by young salmon, and the adults were confined largely to the estuary. They fed on the species available, which sometimes consisted largely of young salmon.


DOI: 10.1139/f37-016

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