Feeding and Survival Srategies of Estuarine Organisms

Volume 15 of the series Marine Science pp 261-273

The Importance of Field Feeding to the Survival of Wintering Male and Female Curlews Numenius Arquata on the Tees Estuary

  • D. J. TownshendAffiliated withDepartment of Zoology, University of Durham Science Laboratories

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Curlews, Numenius arquata, wintering on the Tees estuary use two feeding habitats, the mudflats and the adjacent fields. In mid winter, numbers feeding on intertidal areas fall, but numbers counted on and around the estuary at high water are unchanged. This paper describes the seasonal changes in use of the two habitats shown by individual Curlews. The role of the weather in determining the changes is considered. Differences in behaviour between male (short-billed) and female (long-billed) Curlews are discussed in relation to the depth distribution of their prey. These behavioural strategies are related to the different energy requirements of the sexes.