, Volume 80, Issue 1, pp 1–10 | Cite as

Time-related predator/prey interactions between birds and fish in a northern Swedish river

  • Kjell Sjöberg
Original Papers


Seasonal and diel activity patterns of mergansers, gulls, and terns along a river in northern Sweden were documented, as were those of their fish prey. The seasonal and diel activity patterns of goosandersMergus merganser and gulls (Larus canus, L. argentatus, andL. fuscus) were closely related to that of the river lampreyLampetra fluviatilis. During the peak spawning of the river lamprey, birds showed a nocturnal peak in fishing activity. During the summer solstice, birds were active for 24 h. The activity patterns of red-breasted merganserMergus serrator, ternsSterna spp., and three-spined sticklebacksGasterosteus aculeatus were also similar. Activity pattern of the prey apparently influenced breeding time, diel activity and foraging area of the twoMergus species. Social relations between gulls probably corrdinated their peak in fishing, which coincided with the time lampreys were most efficiently exploited.

Key words

Fish-eating birds Seasonal rhythms Diel rhythms Prey availability Northern rivers 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aass P (1956) Sil-andens nearing i ferskvann. Norges Jeger-og Fiskeforbund 85:1–7 (In Norwegian)Google Scholar
  2. Alcock J (1969) Observational learning in three species of birds. Ibis 111:308–321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Andersson M, Götmark F, Wiklund C (1981) Food information in the black-headed gull,Larus ridibundus. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology 9:199–202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Armstrong EA (1954) The behaviour of birds in continuous daylight. Ibis 96:1–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Aschoff J (1966) Circadian activity pattern with two peaks. Ecology 47:657–662CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bagge P, Lemmetyinen R, Raitis T (1973) Spring food of some diving waterfowl in southwestern Finnish archipelago. Oikos [S] 15:146–150Google Scholar
  7. Cullen JM (1954) The diurnal rhythms of birds in the arctic summer. Ibis 96:31–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Daan S, Aschoff J (1975) Circadian rhythms of locomotor activity in captive birds and mammals: Their variations with season and latitude. Oecologia 18:269–316CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Drent RH (1967) Functional aspects of incubation in the herring gulls (Larus argentatus Pont.). Behav [S] 17:1–32Google Scholar
  10. Emlen ST, DeMong NJ (1975) Adaptive significance of synchronized breeding in a colonial bird: a new hypothesis. Science 188:1029–1031PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Enequist P (1937) Das Bachneunauge als Ökologische Modifikations des Elussneunauges. Über die Fluss- und Bachneunauge Schwedens. Ark Zool 29:1–22Google Scholar
  12. Enright JT (1975) The circadian tape recorder and its entrainment. In: Vernberg J (ed) Physiological adaptation to the environment. Intext Educat Publ New York: pp 465–476Google Scholar
  13. Eriksson K, Niittylä J (1985) Breeding performance of the goosanderMergus merganser in the archipelago of the Gulf of Finland. Ornis Fennica 62:153–157Google Scholar
  14. Ferens B (1962) Notes on the behaviour and activity of birds during the Polar day in the Arctic. Prace Zoologiczne. Krakow 6:137–158Google Scholar
  15. Frank J (1948) Jahres- und Tagesrhythmus einiger Vögel in Nordfinnland. Tierpsych 6:309–329Google Scholar
  16. Götmark F (1984) Food and foraging in five EuropeanLarus gulls in the breeding season: a comparative review. Ornis Fennica 61:9–18Google Scholar
  17. Götmark F, Winkler DW, Andersson M (1986) Flock-feeding on fish shcools increases individual success in gulls. Nature 319:589–591PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Grover JJ, Olla BL (1983) The role of the rhinoceros auklet (Cerorhinca monocerata) in mixed-species feeding assemblages of seabirds in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Washington. Auk 100:979–982Google Scholar
  19. Hailman JP (1961) The Galapagos swallow-tailed gull is nocturnal. Wilson Bull 76:347–354Google Scholar
  20. Hardisty MW, Potter I (eds) (1971) The biology of lampreys. Vol 1. Academic Press. New York LondonGoogle Scholar
  21. Hoffman W, Heinemann D, Wiens JA (1981) The ecology of seabird feeding flocks in Alaska. Auk 98:437–456Google Scholar
  22. Horn HS (1968) The adaptive significance of colonial nesting in the Brewers' blackbird (Euphagaus cyanocephalus). Ecology 49:682–694CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hunt GL, Hunt MW (1976) Exploitation of fluctuating food resources by western gulls. Auk 93:301–307Google Scholar
  24. Karlström U (1978) Environmental factors, detritus and bottom fauna in the Rickleån — a North Swedish forest river. Ph. D. thesis, University of Uppsala, SwedenGoogle Scholar
  25. Karplus M (1952) Bird activity in the continuous daylight of arctic summer. Ecology 33:129–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Krull F (1976) Zeitgebers for animals in the continuous daylight of high arctic summer. Oecologia 24:149–157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lemmetyinen R (1973) Feeding ecology ofSterna paradisaea Pontopp. andS. hirundo L. in the archipelago of southwestern Finland. Ann Zool Fenn 10:507–525Google Scholar
  28. Mills DH (1962) The goosander and red-breasted merganser as predators of salmon in Scottish waters. Freshw Salmon Fish Res 29Google Scholar
  29. Neuman E (1982) Species composition and seasonal migrations of the coastal fish fauna in the southern Bothnian Sea. Monogr Biol 45:317–351Google Scholar
  30. Österdahl L (1964) Smolt investigations in the river Rickleån. Swed Salmon Res Inst Rep 8Google Scholar
  31. Österdahl L (1969) The smolt run of a small Swedish river. In: Northcote TG (ed) Salmon and trout in streams. H. R. MacMillan lectures in fisheries. Univ of British Columbia, pp 205–215Google Scholar
  32. Palmgren P (1935) Über den Tagesrhythmus der Vögel im arktischen Sommer. Ornis Fennica 12:107–121Google Scholar
  33. Piersma T, Lindeboom R, Eerden MR van (1988) Foraging rhythm of great crested grebesPodiceps cristatus adjusted to diel variations in the vertical distribution of their preyOsmerus eperlanus in a shallow eutrophic lake in The Netherlands. Oecologia 481–486Google Scholar
  34. Pratt HM (1980) Directions and timing of great blue heron foraging flights from a California colony: Implications for social facilitiation of food finding. Wilson Bull 92:489–496Google Scholar
  35. Råd O (1980) Breeding distribution and habitat selection of redbreasted merganser in freshwater in western Norway. Wildfowl 31:53–56Google Scholar
  36. Regal PJ, Connolly MS (1980) Social influences on biological rhythms. Behav 72:171–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Remmert H (1965) Über den Tagesrhythmus arktischer Tiere. Z Morph Ökol Tiere 55:142–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Rijnsdorp A, Daan S, Dijkstra C (1981) Hunting in the kestrel,Falco tinnunculus, and the adaptive significance of daily habits. Oecologia 50:391–406CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Sjöberg K (1974a) Spawning period, locomotor activity and length/weight of the river lamprey (Lampetra fluviatilis (L.)) in the Rickleå River, province of Västerbotten, Sweden. Zoologisk Revy 36:41–48 (in Swedish with English summary)Google Scholar
  40. Sjöberg K (1974b) The food of the goosander (Mergus merganser L.) in northern Sweden. Report from the Rickleå Field Station No. 52Google Scholar
  41. Sjöberg K (1977) Locomotor activity of river lampreyLampetra fluviatilis (L.) during the spawning. Hydrobiologia 55:265–270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sjöberg K (1980) Ecology of the European river lamprey (Lampetra fluviatilis) in northern Sweden. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 37:1974–1980CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Sjöberg K (1982) Exploitation of lampreys in Europe. Ethnologia Scandinavica 1982:94–108Google Scholar
  44. Sjöberg K (1985) Foraging activity patterns in the goosander (Mergus merganser) and the red-breasted merganser (M. serrator) in relation to patterns of activity in their major prey species. Oecologia 67:35–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Spärk R (1951) The food of North European gulls. Proceedings. 10th Ornitological Congress 1950:588–591Google Scholar
  46. Thorman S (1983) Patterns and structuring mechanisms in shallow water fish communities in Sweden. Ph. D. thesis, University of Uppsala, SwedenGoogle Scholar
  47. Verbeek NAM (1977) Interactions between herring and lesser black-backed gulls feeding on refuse. Auk 94:726–735CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wikgren B-J (1954) Dygnsrytmiken hos nejonögat (Petromyzon fluviatilis L.). Mem Soc Fauna Flora Fenn 29:24–27 (In Swedish with Engl. summary)Google Scholar
  49. Wootton RJ (1976) The biology of the sticklebacks. Academic Press, London New York San FranciscoGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kjell Sjöberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Animal EcologyUniversity of UmeåUmeåSweden

Personalised recommendations