The feeding ecology of cormorants

Johannes Oehm, Bettina Thalinger, Andreas Zitek*, Thomas Prohaska*, Michael Traugott (PI)

Cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis) are fish eating birds and occur throughout Europe. Their numbers increased significantly during the last decades in Central Europe, which lead to concerns that specific species of freshwater fish might face a significantly decline in population density due to bird predation. However, to understand better if and how these birds affect fish populations, it is necessary to examine their feeding ecology more closely.

Within this project important questions on the feeding ecology of cormorants will be addressed such as the size of their foraging area and which fish species dominate their diet. By analyzing cormorants’ pellets and excrements using both, molecular techniques and stable isotope analysis, we will use a non-invasive approach to assess their feeding habits.

* University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna


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