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1 July 2022 Winter Diet of Great Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo in the River Geul, The Netherlands: The Importance of Common Small Riverine Fish Species
Stef van Rijn
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Abstract

Since 2006, Great Cormorants Phalocrocorax carbo sinensis have wintered in the area of the river Geul, a right-bank tributary of the river Meuse, in the province of Limburg in the south of The Netherlands. Although the number of birds there is relatively small (approximately 30 birds), the local sports fishery sector is concerned about the possible impact on wild Brown Trout Salmo trutta, particularly on the young year-classes, through predation by wintering Cormorants. The number of birds, as well as their estimated fish consumption, was studied in the winter of 2012. Analysis of 70 diet samples (pellets) taken from the roost local to the area, showed that predation was primarily on young year classes of cyprinids, like Roach Rutilus rutilus. These cyprinids, and probably also the few trout consumed, were thought to have been mainly taken from farmed fish ponds in the direct neighbourhood of the river Geul. Besides predation of larger cyprinids, the Cormorants also took abundant small riverine fish species (2–10 cm) like Rhine Sculpin Cottus rhenanus and smaller cyprinid species like Minnow Phoxinus phoxinus and Gudgeon Gobio gobio. These riverine fishes have increased recently due to ameliorated water quality. The estimated fish consumption by Cormorants in the present study suggests limited or no impact on Brown Trout during winter.

Stef van Rijn "Winter Diet of Great Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo in the River Geul, The Netherlands: The Importance of Common Small Riverine Fish Species," Ardea 109(3), 417-428, (1 July 2022). https://doi.org/10.5253/arde.v109i2.a13
Published: 1 July 2022
JOURNAL ARTICLE
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KEYWORDS
Cottus rhenanus
Gobio gobio
gudgeon
minnow
Phoxinus phoxinus
predation
Rhine Sculpin
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