We compared the feeding patterns of Great Egrets (Casmerodius albus) and Snowy Egrets (Egretta thula) in flowing and still aquatic habitats of coastal (New York City) and interior (Wichita, Kansas) locations. These included strike rate, prey capture rate, strike success, “idle time” and diet. We tested the hypothesis that widely-distributed species of wading birds that face different ecological conditions across their geographic range modify their feeding behavior to match local conditions. If this hypothesis is correct, then the feeding patterns of egrets at the coastal site will differ from those in the interior. Great Egrets in coastal habitats had higher capture rates and strike rates than interior birds, but strike success was similar in both areas. The diets of coastal and interior Great Egrets were broadly similar. Great Egrets also spent less “idle time” while foraging at coastal sites than at interior sites. Snowy Egrets had higher capture rates at interior sites, but strike rates did not differ between study areas. Snowy Egrets also had higher strike success at interior sites, but also more “idle time”. Their diets also were similar in both areas.
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Vol. 25 • No. 1