Cephalopod prey of the grey-headed albatross Diomedea chrysostoma
Cephalopod remains were collected, at regular intervals throughout the fledging period, from the stomach contents of chicks of the grey-headed albatrossDiomedea chrysostoma at Bird Island, South Georgia, in 1984 and 1986 and from regurgitations of adults at the nest in 1986. The 1984 sample was taken during a season characterised by abnormal local oceanographic conditions in which the breeding success was very low; in 1986 conditions were normal and breeding success was high. Cephalopod beaks (289 from adults; 5 651 from chicks) were identified, and allometric equations were used to estimate the biomass represented. Five cephalopod species belonging to five families (Gonatidae, Onychoteuthidae, Psychroteuthidae, Ommastrephidae and Cranchiidae) contributed 98% by number and 97% of the biomass fed to chicks. The most important species was the ommastrephidMartialia hyadesi, contributing 68.9 to 77.4% by number and 72.5 to 79.3% of the total biomass fed to chicks. The relative proportions of cephalopod species in the chicks' diet were similar between 1984 and 1986, but the total number and biomass was significantly less in 1984. There is evidence of growth ofM. hyadesi between January and June.
Authors: Rodhouse, Paul G., Prince, P.A., Clarke, M.R., Murray, A.W.A.