We examined habitat use by Little Egrets (Egretta garzetta) and Cattle Egrets (Bubulcus ibis) that nest together in mixed-species colonies in the Camargue of southern France. We explored the relative use of seven habitat types in relation to their availability and tested the hypothesis that selection of habitat types was related to foraging success, with the prediction that increased foraging success in a given habitat corresponded with increased use of that habitat type. Ricefields and other agricultural habitats were used more than expected by Cattle Egrets, an invasive species in southern Europe; whereas Little Egrets, which are native to the Camargue, tended to select natural freshwater marshes and lagoons. Results were consistent with the hypothesis that increasing use of habitats corresponded with higher foraging success for both species. However, when this analysis was restricted to habitats with sufficient numbers of birds to enable estimates of biomass intake, the association was no longer apparent for Little Egrets.
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Vol. 103 • No. 1