MEPS 568:217-230 (2017)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12052

Geographical variation in the foraging behaviour of the pantropical red-footed booby

Loriane Mendez1,2,*, Philippe Borsa3, Sebastian Cruz4, Sophie de Grissac1,2, Janos Hennicke1,5, Joëlle Lallemand1, Aurélien Prudor1,2, Henri Weimerskirch1,2

1Centre d’Etudes Biologiques de Chizé (CEBC), UMR7372 CNRS, Université de La Rochelle, 79360 Villiers-en-Bois, France
2UMR 9220 UR CNRS IRD ENTROPIE, Faculté des Sciences et Technologies, Université de la Réunion, 15 avenue René Cassin - CS 92003, 97744 Saint Denis Cedex 9, La Réunion
3UMR 250 UR CNRS IRD ENTROPIE, 101 Promenade Roger Laroque, 98848 Nouméa, Nouvelle-Calédonie
4Department of Migration and Immuno-ecology, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, 78315 Radolfzell, Germany
5Department of Ecology and Conservation, Institute of Zoology, University of Hamburg, Martin-Luther-King-Platz 3, 20146 Hamburg, Germany
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: While interspecific differences in foraging behaviour have attracted much attention, less is known about how foraging behaviour differs between populations of the same species. Here we compared the foraging strategy of a pantropical seabird, the red-footed booby Sula sula, in 5 populations breeding in contrasted environmental conditions. The foraging strategy strongly differed between sites, from strictly diurnal short trips in Europa Island (Mozambique channel) to long trips including up to 5 nights at sea in Genovesa Island (Galapagos archipelago). The Expectation Maximisation binary Clustering (EMbC) algorithm was used to determine the different behaviours of individuals during their foraging trips (travelling, intensive foraging, resting and relocating). During the day, the activity budget was similar for all the breeding colonies. During the night, birds were primarily on the water, drifting with currents. At all sites, birds similarly performed intensive foraging in zones of area-restricted search (ARS), although the size and duration of ARS zones differed markedly. Red-footed boobies foraged over deep oceanic waters, with chlorophyll a concentrations varying between sites. Birds did not appear to target areas with higher productivity. We suggest that range differences between populations may be linked to other factors such as intra- and interspecific competition.


KEY WORDS: Sula sula · Tropical · GPS tracking · Area-restricted search · ARS · Chlorophyll a · Expectation Maximisation binary Clustering · EMbC


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Cite this article as: Mendez L, Borsa P, Cruz S, de Grissac S and others (2017) Geographical variation in the foraging behaviour of the pantropical red-footed booby. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 568:217-230. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12052

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