Nestling diets of the vulnerable Chinese Egret (Egretta eulophotes) were analyzed at two breeding colonies on islands off Fujian, Southern China, in 2007 and 2008. Fish and shrimps were the main prey, comprising 87.5% and 35.4% by frequency of occurrence in regurgitations, respectively. Prey in the 4–6 mm size class occurred most commonly (80.4% of regurgitations). Compared with nestling diets of the Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) from other island heronries, nestlings of the Chinese Egret depended on prey that only occurred in coastal wetlands, whereas nestlings of the Little Egret consumed prey found in all aquatic habitats, including freshwater marshes; however, both species preyed on fish and shrimps and took prey of a similar size. The results suggest that coastal wetlands near the heronries need to be considered in habitat conservation for Chinese Egret.
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Vol. 34 • No. 2