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Flexible foraging strategy of a bird in relation to weather conditions

AuthorsHernández-Pliego, Jesús; Rodríguez, Carlos ; Dell'Omo, Giacomo; Bustamante, Javier
KeywordsFalco naumanni
Hunting strategy
Flight strategy
Foraging behavior
Movement ecology
Breeding ecology
Tri-axial accelerometry
Time budget
Energy budget
Central-place foraging
Lesser kestrel
Issue Date2017
CitationHernández-Pliego, Jesús; Rodríguez, Carlos ; Dell'Omo, Giacomo; Bustamante, Javier; 2017; "Flexible foraging strategy of a bird in relation to weather conditions [Dataset]" http://dx.doi.org/10.20350/digitalCSIC/8502
AbstractTri-axial accelerometry has proved to be a useful technique to study animal behavior with little direct observation, and also an effective way to measure energy expenditure, allowing a refreshing revisit to optimal foraging theory. This theory predicts that individuals should gain the most energy for the lowest cost in terms of time and energy when foraging, in order to maximize their fitness. However, during a foraging trip, central-place foragers could face different trade-offs during the commuting and searching parts of the trip, influencing behavioral decisions. Using the lesser kestrel (Falco naumanni) as an example we study the time and energy costs of different behaviors during the commuting and searching parts of a foraging trip. Lesser kestrels are small insectivorous falcons that behave as central-place foragers during the breeding season. They can commute by adopting either time-saving flapping flights or energy-saving soaring-gliding flights, and capture prey by using either time-saving active hovering flights or energy-saving perch-hunting. We tracked 6 lesser kestrels using GPS and tri-axial accelerometers during the breeding season. Our results indicate that males devoted more time and energy to flight behaviors than females in agreement with being the sex responsible for food provisioning to the nest. During the commuting flights, kestrels replaced flapping with soaring-gliding flights as solar radiation increased and thermal updrafts got stronger. In the searching part, they replaced perch-hunting with hovering as wind speed increased and they experienced a stronger lift. But also, they increased the use of hovering as air temperature increased, which has a positive influence on the activity level of the preferred prey (large grasshoppers). Kestrels maintained a constant energy expenditure per foraging trip, although flight and hunting strategies changed dramatically with weather conditions, suggesting a fixed energy budget per trip to which they adjusted their commuting and searching strategies in response to weather conditions
ReferencesHernández-Pliego, Jesús; Rodríguez, Carlos ; Dell'Omo, Giacomo; Bustamante, Javier. Combined use of tri-axial accelerometers and GPS reveals the flexible foraging strategy of a bird in relation to weather conditions. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0177892
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