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Breeding Ecology of an Eider Population on Spitsbergen

Ingemar Ahlén and Åke Andersson
Ornis Scandinavica (Scandinavian Journal of Ornithology)
Vol. 1, No. 2 (1970), pp. 83-106
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Nordic Society Oikos
DOI: 10.2307/3676027
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3676027
Page Count: 24
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Breeding Ecology of an Eider Population on Spitsbergen
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Abstract

An Eider (Somateria mollissima (L.)) population of 3300 pairs was studied on West-Spitsbergen in 1964 and 1967. Onset of egg-laying depended on the breakage of ice-contact with mainland. Arctic Foxes destroyed almost all nests on the mainland and on islands where foxes remained. Predation on eggs varied according to the type of nesting community. The most favourable nest location was in colonies of Arctic Tern and in dense parts of dense Eider colonies, while the least favourable was in sparse parts of dense Eider colonies. Of all eggs laid, 27% hatched and 73% were consumed by predators. Glaucous Gull was the most important predator. The gull predation on young was heavy on land, but when broods reached water, predation was insignificant. Very soon after hatching, the females and the young migrated from the fiords to the open coast. Ecological and behavioural adaptations to predation and climate are discussed.

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