Foraging behaviour of Razorbills Alca torda during chick-rearing at the largest colony in the Baltic Sea


Foraging behaviour in the Razorbill Alca torda during breeding was similar to that found elsewhere, aside from dive shape.

The aim of this study is to investigate the foraging behaviour of Razorbills during the breeding season at the largest colony in the central Baltic Sea. We used a combination of global positioning system (GPS) and time-depth recorder (TDR) devices were used on Razorbills breeding on the island of Stora Karlsö, Baltic Sea, during the chick rearing period.

Five GPS tracks and nine TDR logs were retrieved from 12 Razorbills, and 7399 dives were analysed. Razorbills foraged south and southwest of the colony. Maximum and mean (±sd) foraging range from the colony was 72.7 km and 13.1 ± 13.5 km, respectively. Mean dive depth (15.3 ± 2.4 m) and duration (53.1 ± 8.5 s) were similar to those of a more southern Baltic Sea Razorbill colony. Dive depth had a bimodal distribution, with 70% of dives deeper than 10 m and 30% shallower than 10 m. There was a clear diel foraging pattern with 89% of dives occurring during daytime and a higher proportion of shallow dives at night. Unexpectedly, dives were primarily U-shaped. The Razorbills spent 31% of their overall time activity budget flying or diving.

Aside from dive shape, foraging behaviour was consistent with that reported at other colonies of Razorbills. Inconsistency in dive shape may be due to a bimodal foraging strategy, local prey behaviour or competition with the Common Guillemot Uria aalge.


Link to centre authors: Olsson, Olof
Publication info: Isaksson N, Evans TJ, Olsson O, Åkesson S. 2019. Foraging behavior of Razorbills Alca torda during chick-rearing at the largest colony in the Baltic Sea. - Bird Study 10.1080/00063657.2018.1563044