The Yellow River Delta, a stopover site, has become one of the breeding sites of oriental white storks (Ciconia boyciana) in China, with 28 breeding pairs. To gain insight into the characteristics of foraging habitat use during the breeding season, we surveyed the foraging habitats in 2009 and 2010. In 2009, using a quadrat sampling technique, we surveyed 74 quadrats in two breeding phases. Fourteen variables were analyzed with DCA. Oriental white storks mainly foraged in the reed swamp of recovered wetlands during the early breeding phase (70.29%), and in the reed swamp of unrecovered area during the late phase (32.74%), and in the open water of recovered wetlands (29.95%). The variation in proportional habitat use was not significant in the two breeding phases. Differences of the foraging sites in the two phases were extremely significant in terms of plant density, distance from nest, and distance from highway. In 2010, the storks also mainly used the reed wetlands for foraging (87.00%). The top three parameters on the first axis with the highest scores were distance from nest, plant height, plant coverage; on the second axis, the top three variables with the highest scores were plant density, number of other waterbird species, and water depth. These results showed that there are differences in the foraging habitat use of oriental white storks in the early and the late breeding phases. It is favorable for the breeding of oriental white storks to recover the reed wetland and to preserve a certain area of open water habitats.
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Vol. 30 • No. 7