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Temporal and interspecific dietary variation in wintering ducks in agricultural landscapes

Citation

Ando, Haruko et al. (2022), Temporal and interspecific dietary variation in wintering ducks in agricultural landscapes, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.qbzkh18k3

Abstract

Farmlands are becoming more important as waterfowl foraging habitats, while natural wetlands are being lost globally. However, it is unclear how waterfowl coexist in agricultural landscapes by resource partitioning. We evaluated the diets of seven sympatric dabbling ducks foraging in rice paddy and lotus fields around Lake Kasumigaura, the second largest lake in Japan, during two wintering seasons (from November to February) by fecal DNA metabarcoding using chloroplast trnL and mitochondrial CO1 region sequences. We examined 420 fecal samples and found different patterns of dietary diversity and composition among the duck species. The pattern also differed between plant and invertebrate food. Dietary niche partitioning was clear in plant food. Large-bodied ducks intensively use crop plants, and other ducks might mediate competition by using terrestrial and aquatic plants that are suitable for their foraging behaviors or microhabitats. Dietary segregation among species was the most apparent in February, when the abundance of foraging ducks was the largest. This study illustrated the complex pattern of dietary niche partitioning of dabbling ducks in agricultural landscapes, which might be difficult to evaluate by conventional approaches. The availability of crop plants, as well as other plant food resources in flooded areas and farmland dikes, may enable ducks to coexist by spatial or behavioral resource partitioning.

Funding

Ibaraki Prefectural Government