DIET OF THE MACQUARIE ISLAND CORMORANT Phalacrocorax atriceps purpurascens

The diet of the Macquarie Island Cormorant Phalacrocorax atriceps purpurascens was investigated through examination of regurgitated casts. Fish remains occurred in all of 64 casts with the next major food items (either primarily ingested by the cormorants or their fish prey) being crustaceans (17.2%), gastropods (7.8%) and polychaetes (4.7%). Plant material, mainly algae, occurred in 32.8 per cent of casts. There has been little temporal change in the diet of P. a. purpurascens at Macquarie Island, but polystyrene beads were recorded in five of 64 casts, which is in contrast to the lack of any ingested plastic recorded for the same subspecies in the 1970s. There are important geographical differences in diet among subspecies of P. atriceps.

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