The foraging behavior of adult and recently fledged juvenile Squacco Herons (Ardeola ralloides) was studied during the breeding season at the Axios Delta, northern Greece. Adults were more efficient foragers than young birds and they had a 37% higher success per peck rate. The majority of adults captured some large prey items, while most juveniles caught only small prey. A comparison between the two age classes, as well as seasonal trends in adult data, indicated a negative association between prey size and foraging rates. Adult and juvenile foraging behavior did not vary significantly between morning and evening. Herons that moved faster also had higher pecking and capture rates, but a lower success ratio. Moving rate did not appear to be correlated with prey size. Herons moved at a slower rate along the edge of dense reed beds, probably in response to this habitat’s physical structure. Adults caught a greater proportion large prey items in open-water areas than in areas with more vegetation.
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Vol. 28 • No. 1