Observation of common raven (Corvus corax) scavenging Arctic cod (Boreogadus saida) from seabirds in the Canadian High Arctic
- 250 Downloads
The common raven (Corvus corax) is one of the most intelligent avian species, known for its ability to scavenge from humans and other animals. This adaptive nature is critical in habitats where food can be scarce. The Arctic is such an environment, and optimizing associations with sources of prey is important. Large aggregations of Arctic cod (Boreogadus saida) in shallow waters provide a high energetic source for top predators such as seabirds and marine mammals, and consequently potential food sources for ravens. We document, to our knowledge, the first observations of a raven feeding on Arctic cod discarded by seabirds. This report supplements knowledge of ravens to opportunistically meet dietary requirements and the importance of Arctic cod to avian ecology in the Arctic.
KeywordsSchooling Foraging behaviour Seabirds Predation
We thank Sam Simeone from Resolute for assistance in the field and allowing us to use his boat. We would also like to thank Kate Gardiner, Olwyn Friesen, Gretchen Lescord, and Geni Lipkey for advice and support. This research would not have been possible without the use of the Polar Continental Shelf Base and their staff including Martin Bergmann, Mike Kristjanson, Jodi MacGregor, Yvon Laroche, and Brenda Eckalook, as well as the Resolute Bay Hunters and Trappers Association. Funding was provided by CFI and NSERC in association with the Ocean Tracking Network (OTN) to T. Dick.
- Bain H, Sekerak AD (1978) Aspects of the biology of cod, Boreogadus saida, in the Central Canadian Arctic. LGL Ltd, TorontoGoogle Scholar
- Bradstreet MSW, Finley KJ, Sekerak AD, Griffiths WB, Evans CR, Fabijan MF, Stallard HE (1986) Aspects of the biology of cod (Boreogadus saida) and its importance in Arctic marine food chains. Can Tech Rep Fish Aquat Sci 1491Google Scholar
- Gilchrist HG, Robertson GJ (2000) Observations of marine birds and mammals wintering at polynyas and ice edges in the Belcher Islands, Nunavut, Canada. Arctic 53:61–68Google Scholar
- Kessel B, Cade TJ (1958) Birds of the Colville River, Northern Alaska. Biological Papers of the University of Alaska, No. 2. Cornell UniversityGoogle Scholar
- Niemi A, Paulic J, Cobb D (2010) Ecosystem status and trends report: Arctic marine ecozones. DFO Can Sci Advis Sec Res. Doc 2010/066Google Scholar
- Powell AN, Backensto S (2009) Common ravens (Corvus corax) nesting on Alaska’s North Slope Oil Fields. OCS Study MMS 2009-007. Coastal Marine Institute, University of AlaskaGoogle Scholar
- Stirling I, Smith TG (2004) Implications of warm temperatures and an unusual rain event for the survival of ringed seals on the coast of southeastern Baffin Island. Arctic 57:59–67Google Scholar
- Welch HE, Crawford RE, Hop H (1993) Occurrence of cod (Boreogadus saida) schools and their vulnerability to predation in the Canadian High Arctic. Arctic 46:331–339Google Scholar