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Individual shifts toward safety explain age-related foraging distribution in a gregarious shorebird
van den Hout, P.J.; Piersma, T.; ten Horn, J.; Spaans, B.; Lok, T. (2017). Individual shifts toward safety explain age-related foraging distribution in a gregarious shorebird. Behav. Ecol. 28(2): 419-428. https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/beheco/arw173
In: Behavioral Ecology. Oxford University Press: New York. ISSN 1045-2249, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    age; foraging proficiency; habitat use; safety; survival

Auteurs  Top 
  • van den Hout, P.J., meer
  • Piersma, T., meer
  • ten Horn, J., meer
  • Spaans, B.
  • Lok, T.

Abstract
    Although age-related spatial segregation is ubiquitous, the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Here, we aim to elucidatethe processes behind a previously established age-related foraging distribution of red knots (Calidris canutus canutus) in their mainwintering area in West Africa (Banc d’Arguin, Mauritania). Based on 10 years of observations of 1232 uniquely color-ringed individualsof 1 to 18+ years old, we examined whether the observed age-related foraging distribution resulted from 1) spatial differences in mortalityor 2) age-related shifts in habitat use. Using multistate capture–recapture modeling, we showed that with age foraging red knotsmoved away from the shoreline, that is, to areas with fewer surprise attacks by raptors. Considering uncertainties in the subjectivegradient in predation danger with increasing distance from shore (as assessed from correlations between vigilance and distance fromshore in foraging birds), we applied 2 different danger zone boundaries, at 40 m and 500 m from shore. Between years, red knots hada much higher chance to move from the dangerous nearshore area to the “safe” area beyond (71–78% and 26% for 40-m and 500-mdanger zone boundary, respectively), than vice versa (4% and 14%). For neither danger zone boundary value did we find differencesin annual mortality for individuals using either dangerous or safe zone, so the move away from the shore with age is attributed to individualcareers rather than differential mortality. We argue that longitudinal studies like ours will reveal that ontogenetic shifts in habitatuse are more common than so far acknowledged.

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