In response to wetland degradation in the middle and lower reaches of Yangtze River floodplain, wintering waterbirds move to artificial wetlands. Exploring changes in behavior associated with habitat shifts can further understanding of waterbird adaptation to anthropogenic landscapes with frequent disturbances. In winter 2017–2018, vigilance patterns in Bean Goose (Anser fabalis) and White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons) were quantified in natural and artificial habitats in Shengjin Lake, one of the typical Yangtze-connected lakes in China. No significant difference in percentage time spent vigilant between species was found, but vigilance frequency of White-fronted Goose was higher than Bean Goose. Percent time spent vigilant and mean scan durations in both species were higher in rice fields (Bean Goose: 15.3% ± 2.0 SE and 12.3 sec ± 1.6 SE; White-fronted Goose: 15.7% ± 2.8 SE and 8.6 sec ± 1.4 SE) than in natural wetlands (Bean Goose: 7.8% ± 1.9 SE and 5.7 sec ± 1.1 SE; White-fronted Goose: 9.8% ± 1.2 SE and 6.4 sec ± 0.7 SE), while no significant difference was found in vigilance frequency between the two habitats. Flock size was a negative predictor of the three vigilance components.
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Vol. 42 • No. 2