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Making Foraging Decisions: Host Selection by Cattle Egrets Bubulcus ibis

Joanna Burger and Michael Gochfeld
Ornis Scandinavica (Scandinavian Journal of Ornithology)
Vol. 24, No. 3 (Jul. - Sep., 1993), pp. 229-236
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Nordic Society Oikos
DOI: 10.2307/3676738
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3676738
Page Count: 8
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Making Foraging Decisions: Host Selection by Cattle Egrets Bubulcus ibis
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Abstract

Cattle Egrets forage in association with ungulates in Kenya. However, they do not forage with all species of ungulates, but select herds with hosts that take an average of 5-15 steps per minute and avoid slower- or faster-moving herds. Within herds having attending egrets, egret steps are positively correlated with host steps, and the number of capture attempts and items obtained are positively correlated with the number of host steps. Thus, foraging egrets can use host steps as a predictor of prey availability and host suitability. A stepwise regression showed that the best model for items obtained included host species, host steps and egret steps. Cattle Egrets preferred to forage behind zebra Equus burchelli, waterbuck Kobus defassa, wildebeest Connochaetes taurinus and buffalo Syncerus caffer.

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