Predation by great skuas at a large Shetland seabird colony

Great Skua (Stercorarius skua) Science Article 1


1) Skuas are top predators in marine ecosystems and may have detrimental effects on seabird communities they prey upon. However, predation rates are poorly understood and poorly quantified. Using a bio-energetics model we estimate seabird predation by great skuas, Stercorarius skua , at a large UK colony (Hermaness, Shetland). We investigate the influence of dietary specialization and fishery management on predation and explore the effect of experimental removal of specialist bird predators. 2) Great skuas at Hermaness required 491,5 + 10 kJ and 546,6 + 10 kJ of energy in each of two breeding seasons. Breeding skuas fell into one of two groups: a small proportion (5%) of specialist bird predators or the vast majority (95%) that fed opportunistically on birds or specialized on fishery discards. During 1999, great skuas consumed

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