It is time to move: linking flight and foraging behaviour in a diving bird

D Pelletier, M Guillemette, JM Grandbois, Patrick Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)


Although the adaptive value of flight may seem obvious, it is the most difficult behaviour of birds to monitor. Here, we describe a technique to quantify the frequency and the duration of flights over several months by implanting a data logger that records heart rate (fH), hydrostatic pressure (diving depth) and the body angle of a large sea duck species, the common eider (Somateria mollissima). According to the mean fH recorded during flight and the parameters recorded to identify the fH flight signature, we were able to identify all flights performed by 13 individuals during eight months. We cumulated local flight time (outside migrations) and found that activity occurs primarily during dawn and morning and that flying activities are strongly related to diving activities (Pearson's r=0.88, permutation test p
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-359
Number of pages3
JournalBiology Letters
Issue number4
Early online date15 May 2007
Publication statusPublished - 22 Aug 2007


  • heart rate
  • flying behaviour
  • diving behaviour
  • free-living birds
  • common eider
  • data logger


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