The influence of social interactions on the foraging path of Bewick’s Swans Cygnus columbianus bewickii.

Whistling Swan (Cygnus columbianus) Science Article 3


The efficiency in which high-density food patches are found is determined by the way foragers move between patches. In this study we explore the effect of social interactions on the foraging path, in particular the distance moved between patches. We studied Bewick’s Swans Cygnus columbianus bewickii that foraged on belowground tubers of Fennel Pondweed Potamogeton pectinatus. We accurately mapped the foraging path of individual swans and determined the distances between visited patches. 24% of inter-patch movements are associated with social interactions. When a swan retreats from a patch because it is chased away by another swan, it moves a significantly larger distance to a patch than if the movement is not associated with a social interaction.

Klaassen R.H.G., Nolet B.A. & Bankert D., ARDEA 94 (3): 477-484

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