Timing of breeding and diet of the Black-faced cormorant Phalacrocorax fuscescens
journal contributionposted on 2013-01-01, 00:00 authored by A Taylor, P Dann, John ArnouldJohn Arnould
Previous anecdotal reports have suggested that Black-faced Cormorant Phalacrocorax fuscescens breeds only in winter in southeastern Australia, but detailed reports confirming this are lacking. Here we examine the timing of breeding in Black-faced Cormorants at Notch Island in northern Bass Strait in 2006. Peak laying occurred during winter (ca 26 July). The diet of Black-faced Cormorants was predominantly fish (97% of identified prey) and varied between breeding and post-breeding periods. Black-faced Cormorants consumed a total of 14 different species with four species having a frequency of occurrence in the diet of ?5% during the breeding season and six species during the post-breeding period. We provide data for the first time on the chronology of breeding of Black-faced Cormorants in one year and give a preliminary description of their diet based on pellet analyses. We propose that late winter breeding may be a strategy to avoid the high ambient temperatures in northern Bass Strait during summer, the associated higher thermoregulatory costs for adults and the increased mortality for chicks.