THE FOOD AND FEEDING HABITS OF TEAL ANAS CRECCA

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Abstract

The food and feeding habits of teal Anas crecca crecca are described. This study is based on the analysis of 456 viscera collected during the shouting seasons of 1956–60, and on field observations. The sample is sub-divided into those 340 birds which were found to be feeding in saltmarsh or brackish-water areas and to the 116 birds feeding in freshwater areas. The saltmarsh and brackish-water feeding birds were further divided into two sections: the 234 birds collected from the Greenborough and Milfordhope Islands in the River Medway, Kent, and the other 106 birds collected from around the British coast.

Teal feeding on saltmarshes were found to be feeding mainly on the scods of Suiicornia hilt also on the seeds of almost any of the common salt, marsh flowering plants except Spartinu touwscndii agg. and Nalinlione portulacoides. In certain areas and at certain times of the year Enferornorpha and the mollusc Sabunaea are important items of food. In brackish-water areas, teal were found to be feeding mainly on the seeds of Scirpiis maritinius, S. fcihcrnuemontani anti Eleocharis spp. and to a lesser extent on the mollusc Hydrobicc jenkinsi.

In freshwater areas alrnort any of the seed-bearing plant's might be utiliscd, though there may be some limitation by size of seed. The most commonly owurring seeds within this sample mere those of Eleotharis pulirstris and Rarmnculirs repens. Chironomid larvae were also taken, probably whenever available, and probably more so during the summer and early autumn months.

Ancillary