The chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax L. is largely restricted to areas of low-input agricultural land in the UK and Ireland. In parts of their range their numbers have declined dramatically in recent years following changes in land use. In this study, the relative importance of eight major habitat types to the foraging requirements of five breeding pairs of choughs in County Donegal was investigated. For each pair the area within a defined home range was classified according to habitat type, and both habitat use and foraging behaviour were monitored. Invertebrate samples were also collected. Most pairs preferentially foraged in machair and maritime turf and avoided heather and improved pasture. Rough grass was also important, although to a lesser degree. Birds spent longer actively feeding in machair where a greater range of invertebrates were available. Our results are supportive of those obtained in previous studies and emphasise the importance of machair as a primary foraging habitat.
|Journal||BIOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENT-PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL IRISH ACADEMY|
|Publication status||Published (in print/issue) - Jun 1995|