THE TROPHIC ECOLOGY OF NAZCA BOOBY (SULA GRANTI) OF MALPELO ISLAND (COLOMBIAN PACIFIC)
The trophic ecology of Nazca Booby was evaluated through the analysis of gut contents collected between September 2004 and July 2005 during five field trips. From 110 induced regurgitation samples, the diet was analyzed using the variables number, weight and frequency of occurrence of the different nutritious categories, and using the distribution of the frequencies of sizes of preys at general, intraspecific and temporal levels. Oxyporrhamphus micropterus (halfbeaks fishes, family Hemiramphidae) and fishes of the family Exocoetidae (flying fishes) were the principal components found on the diet, followed by fishes of the families Carangidae and Escombridae. Variations were present in the consumption of the distinct categories at general, intraspecific and temporal levels, with the strongest differences in the consumption of preys of the family Hemiramphidae. The quantity of food taken by S. granti at Malpelo Island showed close relation with its reproductive cycle, and it adjusted to the model of energetic demand proposed for marine birds. Comparisons with other analogue studies showed slight differences between localities, apparently related with the availability of preys. It seems like there is a niche partition between females and males of S. granti at Malpelo Island related with the quantity and sizes of the preys ingested, and in a lesser degree with the composition of the diet. The present work is the first one to evaluate in detail the diet of the Nazca Booby and considerably extends the geographical range of this kind of studies in the Eastern Pacific.
Colombian Pacific; Malpelo Island; Sula granti; Trophic ecology; Gut contents; Nutritious categories
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