Food and distribution of three Bucephala species in British Columbia waters

Kees Vermeer


The food habits and distribution of winter populations of the Bufflehead Bucephala albeola, the Common Goldeneye B. clangula and the Barrow's Goldeneye B. islandica, were investigated in British Columbia and coastal waters. The two goldeneye species fed on herring eggs in spring but differed in staple foods: mussels for Barrow's Goldeneyes and crustaceans for Common Goldeneyes. The Bufflehead's diet consisted mostly of snails and crustaceans. Large concentrations of Bufflehead and Common Goldeneyes wintered in sheltered waters of the Canadian Gulf Islands and south-eastern Vancouver Island while Barrow s Goldeneyes chiefly wintered in mainland fjords. The distribution of the Bucephala species appears to be related to the distribution of their prey species.

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