Diet and habitat use of Svalbard Pink-footed Geese Anser brachyrhynchus during arrival and pre-breeding periods in Adventdalen.

Pink-footed Goose (Anser brachyrhynchus) Science Article 4

abstract

The feeding behaviour of Pink-footed Geese Anser brachyrhynchus was studied in Adventdalen, Svalbard during 15-28 May 2004 to determine habitat use of newly arrived birds based on their distribution in relation to the major vegetation types present. Goose numbers increased from initial arrival on 15 May to 380-440 during 23-28 May, with a brief arrival peak of 990 on 20 May. Geese fed initially on grass-rich communities associated with gravel out-wash fans, but shifted to wet meadow habitats as the thaw progressed, and increasingly used moss tundra and heath habitats after 22 May. Less than 20% of observed geese fed by grubbing the substrate prior to 21 May, but more than 85% did so from 24 May onwards as rising air temperatures exceeded freezing point and the substrate progressively thawed, permitting excavation of subterranean plant storage organs.

Fox A.D., Francis I.S. & Bergersen E., ARDEA 94 (3): 691-699.

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