The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Over-representation of bird prey in pellets of South Polar Skuas

Santos, M. Mercedes, Juáres, Mariana A., Rombolá, Emilce F., García, Mirta L., Coria, Néstor R. and Doncaster, C. Patrick (2012) Over-representation of bird prey in pellets of South Polar Skuas Journal für Ornithologie, 153, (3), pp. 979-983. (doi:10.1007/s10336-012-0840-4).

Record type: Article


We report the first study to compare the contents of pellets and regurgitates of South Polar Skuas, Stercorarius maccormicki, at two breeding colonies on the Antarctic Peninsula. Samples were taken across years from identified breeding pairs at Potter Peninsula in sympatry with 30–40 breeding pairs of Brown Skuas, Stercorarius antarcticus lonnbergi, and from Cierva Point with 2 pairs of Brown Skuas. In contrast to the general consensus that penguins feature in the diet most prominently in the absence of Brown Skuas, we found a much more frequent occurrence of penguin remains in samples at Potter than Cierva, but only in pellets. At Cierva, penguin feathers were largely replaced in the pellets by a high frequency of non-food moss. The rare occurrence of penguins in regurgitates from both sites is consistent with scavenging rather than active predation. The high frequency of feathers in pellets at Potter is consistent with a gut-cleansing function similar to that performed by moss, which is abundant only at Cierva. We conclude that pellets over-represent penguins in the diet. For any species that consumes feathers, the evidence must consider the alternative possibility of a non-food function of ingesting feathers.

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

Published date: 13 April 2012
Keywords: antarctica, dietary analysis, pellet analysis, regurgitate analysis, sympatric
Organisations: Environmental


Local EPrints ID: 340510
ISSN: 0021-8375
PURE UUID: bb502104-dadc-41a3-b595-1c4138915510
ORCID for C. Patrick Doncaster: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 25 Jun 2012 09:06
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 05:43

Export record



Author: M. Mercedes Santos
Author: Mariana A. Juáres
Author: Emilce F. Rombolá
Author: Mirta L. García
Author: Néstor R. Coria

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.