During the past 30 years, nonnative mute swan (Cygnus olor) populations have greatly increased, and continue to increase, in the eastern United States and within the lower Great Lakes (LGL) region. As a result, there is much concern regarding impacts of mute swan on native waterfowl, aquatic plants, and marsh habitats. There are presently only limited dietary data for mute swans in North America and none exist for birds in the LGL region. Thus, in 2001, 2002, and 2004 we collected 132 mute swans from LGL coastal marshes in Ontario, Canada, to determine dietary composition and to evaluate 1) seasonal and sex-related variation in adult diets and 2) age-related dietary differences. Adult diets did not differ among years, collection sites, or seasons, but female diets contained more pondweed spp. (Potamogeton spp.) and less slender naiad (Najas flexilis) and common waterweed (Elodea canadensis) than did diets of males. Adult males, adult females, and cygnets had similar diets during summer and autumn. Overall, mute swan diets mainly consisted of above-ground biomass of pondweed spp., muskgrass (Chara vulgaris), coontail (Ceratophyllum demersum), slender naiad, common waterweed, wild celery (Vallisneria americana), and wild rice (Zizania palustris); below-ground parts of wild celery, sago pondweed (Stuckenia pectinatus), and arrowhead spp. (Sagittaria spp.) were eaten infrequently. Comparison of our findings with those of other diet studies suggested considerable dietary overlap between mute swans and several other species of native waterfowl. Thus, we suggest that mute swans have potential to compete with native waterfowl and impact aquatic plants that are important waterfowl foods within LGL coastal marshes. Further, our results can be used to assess which aquatic plant species may be most impacted by foraging activities of mute swans at other important waterfowl stopover and wintering sites in North America.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 72 • No. 3