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S. Peris (2003)FEEDING IN URBAN REFUSE DUMPS: INGESTION OF PLASTIC OBJECTS BY THE WHITE STORK (CICONIA CICONIA) ALIMENTACIÓN EN BASUREROS: LA INGESTIÓN DE OBJETOS DE PLÁSTICO POR LA CIGÜEÑA BLANCA (CICONIA CICONIA)
(2011)Trashing wildlife. Virginia Wildlife
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Qamar Schuyler, B. Hardesty, C. Wilcox, K. Townsend (2013)Global Analysis of Anthropogenic Debris Ingestion by Sea Turtles
Conservation Biology, 28
P. Henry, G. Wey, G. Balança (2011)Rubber Band Ingestion by a Rubbish Dump Dweller, the White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)
(2000)Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga). The birds of North America online
Erica Donnelly-Greenan, J. Harvey, H. Nevins, M. Hester, W. Walker (2014)Prey and plastic ingestion of Pacific Northern Fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis rogersii) from Monterey Bay, California.
Marine pollution bulletin, 85 1
S. Avery‐Gomm, J. Provencher, K. Morgan, Douglas Bertram (2013)Plastic ingestion in marine-associated bird species from the eastern North Pacific.
Marine pollution bulletin, 72 1
M. Azzarello, E. Vleet (1987)Marine birds and plastic pollution
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A. Lewis, D. Pomeroy (2017)Family Anhingidae: Darters
Giulia D'Angelo, I. Sazima (2014)Commensal association of piscivorous birds with foraging otters in southeastern Brazil, and a comparison with such a relationship of piscivorous birds with cormorants
Journal of Natural History, 48
G C Booth (2011)Trashing wildlife
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I. Sazima (2014)História natural das aves em um parque urbano no Sudeste do Brasil
(2013)Toxic waste: oceans of plastic threaten seabirds
I Sazima, G B D’Angelo (2015)Intake and handling of plastic debris by Wood Storks at an urban site in South-eastern Brazil: possible causes and consequences
North-western Journal of Zoology, 11
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Ornithological Observations, 3
I. Sazima, Giulia D'Angelo (2012)Agonistic Interactions Between Two Foraging Anhinga Females in Southeastern Brazil
J Peris (2003)Feeding in urban refuse dumps: ingestion of plastic objects by the White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)
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Marine pollution bulletin, 58 2
(2006)Ecological significance of bird populations
I. Sazima (2015)Handling and intake of plastic debris by Wood Storks at an urban site in South-eastern Brazil: possible causes and consequences
Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, 23(4), 380-384 ARTICLE December 2015 Dangerous traps: Anhingas mistake anthropogenic debris for prey fish at a n urban site in South-eastern Brazil 1,3 2 Ivan Sazima and Giulia B. D’Angelo Museu de Zoologia, Caixa Postal 6109, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, CEP 13083-970, Campinas, SP, Brazil. Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, CEP 13083-970, Campinas, SP, Brazil. Corresponding author: email@example.com Received on 25 March 2015. Accepted on 23 April 2015. ABSTRACT: Impacts of anthropogenic inedible debris on seabirds have been well documented, but on inland waterbirds this kind of pollution remains poorly recorded. Herein we report 21 instances of inedible objects stuck in the bill of Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga), a fish-eating waterbir d which has the cutting edges of the mandible serrated. Disturbance and harm by pieces of plastic, rope, and cotton stuck in the bill were recorded. Debris caused drag and prevented the birds from fishing. Bir ds with small pieces of material stuck on their bills were still able to fish, but their hunting success decreased. When the debris was large and stuck on the bill for long, the birds possibly starved and some of them died. The time spent to clean up the bill was related to the type of material, ranging from 1 to 17 days. Our records illustrate the deleterious effect that anthropogenic debris has on the life of a Neotropical aquatic inland bird. KEY-WORDS: Anhingidae, anthropogenic pollution, deleterious effects, foraging impairment. INTRODUCTION its bill enmeshed in a clump of steel wool in South Africa (Ryan 2013). Herein we report and comment on the Anthropogenic debris is a worldwide problem for wildlife disturbance and harm anthropogenic materials caused to and its deleterious effect on seabir ds and shorebirds that a small population of Anhingas (Anhinga anhinga) at an urban site in South-eastern Brazil. take the debris as food has been well documented (e.g. Azzarello & Van Vleet 1987, Avery-Gomm et al. 2013, Donnelly-Greenan et al. 2014). However, this pollution type effect is rarely reported for inland waterbir ds (e.g. METHODS Peris 2003, Booth 2011, Henry et al. 2011, Sazima & We observed the Anhingas at the “Parque Ecológico D’Angelo 2015). This difference is possibly due to the Prof. Hermógenes de Freitas Leitão Filho” (22°48'42''S, general awareness of garbage pollution in the oceans when compared with such pollution type in inland 47°04'21''W; Campinas, São Paulo, South-eastern Brazil). waters (e.g., Booth 2011). Aside from being taken as This mainly recreational park is surrounded by residential food, anthropogenic debris cause waterbirds to entangle quarters and buildings of a local university (see a map in D’Angelo 2014). The park h as a total area of 0.13 km , of on plastic pieces and other materials (Waller et al. 2012, which about 75 % is occupied by a large pond (0.1 km ) Corbo et al. 2013, Ryan 2013). Pollution by rubbish should be a concern for bird conservationists, particularly surrounded by native and exotic vegetation composed of in the neglected tropical areas. trees, bushes and grass patches. The pond is bordered by a Darters and Anhingas (Anhingidae) dwell in a sandy path about 1.5 km long used by people for walking, running, and promenading. Two playgrounds, three wide variety of inland waters, including lakes, ponds, kiosks, several benches and tables, as well as wastebaskets slow-moving rivers, marshes and swamps. They forage underwater, swimming slowly with the neck held in a along the path accentuate the recreational nature of the site. kink ready to dart the bill forward to spear prey with There are two rainwater and occasional sewage discharges one or both mandibles, which have serrations pointing at one side of the park, whose drifting rubbish flow is partly restrained by floating b arriers of absorbent material. backwards on distal edges (Orta 1992, Frederick & One of the discharges created a pool that was a favoured Siegel-Causey 2000). The only recor d we found of Anhingidae entangled with anthropogenic material is a fish ing site for several waterbirds, as it concentrated small brief mention of an African Darter (Anhinga rufa) with fish that fed on detritus (D’Angelo & Sazima 2014). Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, 23(4), 2015 Dangerous traps: Anhingas mistake anthropogenic debris for prey fish at an urban site in South-eastern Brazil Ivan Sazima and Giulia B. D’Angelo Our records were made between August 2010 and to record fortuitous or rare events.The anthropogenic February 2015, covering most of the months of the year, materials carried by the Anhingas were identified visually but November and December, both in the morning and or assessed from samples collected on the pond bank. The in the afternoon. We observed the Anhingas with bare eye size of these materials was assessed against the bill length and through a 70-300 mm telephoto lens mounted on a (culmen) by enlarging the digital photos to actual bill camera from a distance of 3-15 m. Anhinga sexes are easily measurements taken from 10 museum specimens (5 males distinguished: males are black with silvery to white streaks = 90-95 mm, 5 females = 85-88 mm) and measuring the and spots on upper back, scapulars, and wing-coverts, debris with a flexi ble scale directly on the screen. Voucher whereas females are duller with head, neck, and breast digital photographs of the Anhingas with anthropogenic buffy; juveniles of both sexes are similar to adult females, material impaled on bill are on file at the Museu de but browner overall and lack most of the white marks Zoologia da Universidade Estadual de Campinas (ZUEC). on upperparts (Orta 1992, Frederick & Siegel-Causey 2000). Some individuals with anthropogenic debris impaled on bill were recognised by natural marks or site RESULTS attachment (see Sazima & D’Angelo 2012). Throughout the observational sessions, we used the “ad libitum” and The number of Anhinga individuals we recor ded at a “sequence” samplings (Altmann 1974), which are adequate given time in the park never surpassed six, including FIGURE 1. Anhingas (Anhinga anhinga) with impaled prey and anthropogenic debris stuck on bill. An adult male surfaces with a Tilapia (Coptodon rendalli) impaled on bill (a); a juvenile male swimming with a piece of cotton impaled on bill – note similarity of shape and general colour of the debris and a fish prey, besides the carrying posture of the bird (b); a juvenile male perches to release a piece of plastic stuck on bill (c); a juvenile female with a small piece of rope stuck on bill perches with an impaled Tilapia to free the prey and swallow it (d); an adult female with a large piece of worn-out and tangled rope perches to shake and dip the debris in an attempt to free the bill (e); the same female perches and pull a large piece of rope attempting to free the bill (f ). After about 2-3 weeks, with the rope still attached on bill, this individual died. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, 23(4), 2015 Dangerous traps: Anhingas mistake anthropogenic debris for prey fish at an urban site in South-eastern Brazil Ivan Sazima and Giulia B. D’Angelo nestlings or juveniles (Sazima & D’Angelo 2012). The The Anhingas tried to release the debris with birds habitually foraged close to the banks and, after a movements similar to those they use to free stabbed prey successful hunting dive, the birds surfaced with a fish (Figures 1b-c). The bir ds shook the debris, dipped it and impaled on bill (Figure 1a). The prey was released from shook again, at times thrashing the object against the the serrated bill with vigorous horizontal shaking of the water surface. When the debris was large, the birds sought head, sometimes accompanied by opening and closing of a perch where, besides shaking the debris vigorously, they the bill. After release, the fish was flipped in the air and scrubbed it against branches (Figures 1e-f ). This scrubbing swallowed, a habitual behaviour for this bird (Orta 1992, wounded the softer parts of bill, mostly at its base. Frederick & Siegel-Causey 2000, Corbo et al. 2013). The birds managed to free most of the debris from We recorded 21 examples of anthropogenic objects bill in 17 out of 21 instances in 1-8 days after spending impaled on bill of 10 adult females, 3 adult males, and effort and time (several rounds up to 30 min), although 8 juveniles. The objects varied from t hreads to ropes, small pieces or threads of worn-out debris remained stuck including cloth pieces and cotton wastes (Figures 1b-c, for 10-17 days. A male was able to free its bill from a e-f ). The size of these objects varied from 1-3 cm (worn- large piece of woven plastic in 1 day (Figure 1 c). Another out threads, cotton wastes) to 50-70 cm (worn-out and individual was recorded free of a small and worn-out tangled cloths, ropes). debris piece after 10 days (Figures 2 e-f ). From all debris FIGURE 2. Anhingas (Anhinga anhinga) with anthropogenic debris stuck on bill and freed of it. An adult female with a cloth piece entangled on both mandibles tries to open the bill wide (a); the same individual just missed a stabbed fish prey that it was unable to hold and swallow ( b); a juvenile male with a cotton waste stuck on bill pursued by a dominant female that dived (yellow asterisk on upper left) to surface next to the chased bird (c); the same male, with completely soaked plumage takes flight to evade the pursuer bir d (d); an adult female with a natural mark (scar) behind the eye still carries a small piece of worn-out debris stuck on mandible (e) and free of the debris 10 days latter (f ). Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, 23(4), 2015 Dangerous traps: Anhingas mistake anthropogenic debris for prey fish at an urban site in South-eastern Brazil Ivan Sazima and Giulia B. D’Angelo we found impaled on the bill of the Anhingas, ropes were Anhingas occasionally begin a dive with semi open bill fatal to two adult females. One of them carried a rope (our pers. obs.). about 70 cm long for 2-3 weeks before dying (Figure 1f ). The effort Anhingas invest to free the im paled debris An adult male with a tangled cotton waste about 40 cm is a waste of time and energy, and may hurt the birds while long totally enmeshed around its bill died after about they scrub the bill against branches. Additionally, large 1-2 weeks, and an adult female with both mandibles objects cause drag to swimming and diving Anhingas. entangled by a piece of cloth (Figures 2 a-b) also died Drag also disturbs feeding effort and decreases its success, after about 1-2 weeks. We were unable to retrieve the even when the debris is small, due to the spearing dead birds due to the deep layer of mud on the bottom technique employed by Anhingas (Orta 1992, Frederick of the pond and the dense scrubs the Anhingas perch on. & Siegel-Causey 2000).The ropes are a case apart among Small pieces did not prevent the birds from fishing the anthropogenic objects in the pond, because the two (Figure 1d), but their hunting success decreased. An instances we recorded with this type of debris resulted in individual recorded in two occasions at the same site for death of the individuals that impaled a knot at the end 30 min had a foraging success of 0.2 fish per min without of the rope. A knot is the bulkiest part of the rope and debris on bill, but it dropped to 0.07 fish per min after would be targeted by Anhingas as a fish prey. impaling a piece of rope about 10 cm long. When debris Anthropogenic objects and their risk to underwater was wrapped on both mandibles, the birds were unable to hunting birds include an instance of an African Darter fish (Figures 2 a-b). Sometimes a bir d carried more than with a clump of steel wool enmeshed on the bill in South one type of debris, perhaps caused by entanglement of Africa, briefly mentioned by Ryan (2013). This instance other types of objects on the initially impaled debris. is the most similar situation to that we present here for Besides being troubled with debris impaled on bill, the Anhinga. At sites frequented by fishers in the USA, an additional trouble could occur due to the territorial entanglement with monofilament line and ingestion of behaviour of Anhingas while fishing. We recor ded one hooks and fishing gear b y Anhingas would be a threat, but juvenile male with cotton waste impaled on bill pursued there are no quantitative data (Frederick & Siegel-Causey by a dominant female (Figure 2c), the chase ending when 2000). Enmeshing the bill with an anthropogenic object the pursued bird took flight (Figure 2d). invariably results in death by starvation, according to Ryan (2013). We were unable to find o bvious indications of Anhingas starving in our study, as these birds have a DISCUSSION slender built that makes such kind of checking a difficult task. However, starving to death was possible in the cases Anthropogenic objects stuck to bill of Anhingas are of the two females that impaled a rope, one male with related to the foraging behaviour of these birds, which bill enmeshed in a large cotton waste, and the female probably mistake waterborne debris for their prey. For that had the two mandibles tied by a cloth piece. Besides instance, cotton wastes or worn-out and tangled cloths starvation, they could become exhausted and drowned. may seem a fish to Anhingas foraging in translucent Thus, anthropogenic debris caused the death of four or turbid waters. Due to this probable mistake, the individuals, a heavy toll for the small number of Anhingas fishing birds stab the objects, which remain stuck on bill that dwell (or dwelt) in the park. because of the fine serrations pointed backwards (Orta At this study site, adult Anhinga females hold 1992, Frederick & Siegel-Causey 2000). The serrations, hunting territories, with one of them dominant which preclude prey fish to free themselves from t he bill, (Sazima & D’Angelo 2012) and reproductively active, become a major trouble when debris is impaled instead of outnumbering males by 2:1 (our pers. obs.). The death fish. There are recor ds of waterbirds such as White Storks of an adult male negatively affects the reproductive cycle (Ciconia ciconia) in France that ingest rubber bands while of Anhingas at the studied area until the arrival of a new foraging in rubbish dumps, possibly mistaking the bands male and its mating with the dominant female, which for earthworms (Henry et al. 2011). Additionally, at the may delay reproduction in the pond for 2-3 years (our same site we studied the Anhingas, we recorded Wood pers. obs.).Thus, besides affecting foraging activities, the Storks (Mycteria americana) handling and ingesting anthropogenic debris stabbed by Anhingas may affect pliable plastic cable pieces that they likely mistook for their reproductive cycle as well. elongate fish or snake prey (Sazima & D’Angelo 2015). Clearly, anthropogenic waterborne debris is a However, the most similar mistake to that we recorded hazard for Anhingas and other waterbirds such as Wood for Anhingas occurs with sea turtles that ingest floating Storks in the park (present paper, Sazima & D’Angelo plastic debris instead of jellyfish (Mrosovsky et al. 2008, 2015). We suspect that most of this debris reaches the Schuyler et al. 2013). In a few cases, however, accidental pond via the sewage and rainwater discharges. A gravel debris entangling cannot be completely ruled out, as sieve-like device mounted on the outlets would catch Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, 23(4), 2015 Dangerous traps: Anhingas mistake anthropogenic debris for prey fish at an urban site in South-eastern Brazil Ivan Sazima and Giulia B. D’Angelo Azzarello, M. Y. & Van Vleet, E. S. (1987). Marine birds and plastic the waterborne rubbish and lessen this problem in the pollution. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 37: 295-303. pond. This sieve should be periodically cleaned to prevent Booth, G. C. (2011). Trashing wildlife. Virginia Wildlife, 72: 23-26. clogging. However, the “Anhinga problem” at the pond Corbo, M.; Macarrão, A.; D’Angelo, G. B.; Almeida, C. H.; Silva, seems to have no end due to the generalised bad custom W. R. & Sazima, I. (2013). Aves do campus da Unicamp e arredores. to discard waste everywhere. Vinhedo: Avisbrasilis Editora. D’Angelo, G. B. (2014). História natural das aves em um parque The Anhinga may be regarded as an environmental urbano no Sudeste do Brasil. M.Sc. Thesis. Campinas: Universidade indicator (sensu Sekercioglu 2006) of some types of Estadual de Campinas. anthropogenic debris at our study site. Waterborne D’Angelo, G. B. & Sazima, I. (2014). Commensal association of inedible rubbish negatively affect foraging and may hamper piscivorous birds with foraging otters in South-eastern Brazil, and a comparison of such relationship of piscivorous birds with the breeding of small or range-restricted populations. We cormorants. Journal of Natural History, 48: 241-249. suggest that additional observational studies will reveal Donnelly-Greenan, E. L.; Harvey, J. T.; Nevins, H. M.; Hester, M. that the type of accident we described herein occurs in M. & Walker, W. A. (2014). Prey and plastic ingestion of Pacific others habitats in which Anhingas forage in, and that Northern Fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis rogersii) from Monterey Bay, California. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 85: 214-224. are polluted by anthropogenic inedible debris. As almost Frederick, P. C. & Siegel-Causey, D. (2000). Anhinga (Anhinga nothing is known about the survivorship of the Anhinga, anhinga). The bir ds of North America online. A. Poole(ed.). which is a long-lived bird that may reach about 10-15 Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, Ithaca, USA. http://bna.birds. years and has few predators (Orta 1992, Frederick & cornell.edu/bna/species/522.html (accessed 16 October 2014). Siegel-Causey 2000), the hazard caused by anthropogenic Henry, P-Y.; Wey, G. & Balança, G. (2011): Rubber-band ingestion by a rubbish dump dweller, the White Stork (Ciconia ciconia). objects deserves particular attention by conservationists Waterbirds, 34: 504-508. and wildlife officials. Mrosovsky, N.; Ryan, G. D. & James, M. C. (2008). Leatherback turtles: the menace of plastic. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 58: 287- ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Orta, J. (1992). Family Anhingidae (darters), p 354-361. In: J. del Hoyo, A. Elliot & J. Sargatal (eds.). Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 1, Ostrich to ducks. Barcelona, Lynx Edicions. We thank to the staff of the Parque E cológico Prof. Peris, J. (2003). Feeding in urban refuse dumps: ingestion of plastic Hermógenes de Freitas Leitão Filho for allowing our objects by the White Stork (Ciconia ciconia). Ardeola, 50: 81-84. field studies at the park; Luís Fábio Silveira for bill Ryan, P. (2013). Toxic waste: oceans of plastic threaten seabirds. African Birdlife 52-56. measurements of specimens housed at the bird collection Sazima, I. & D’Angelo, G. B. (2012). Agonistic interactions between of the Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo two foraging Anhinga females in Southeastern Brazil. Wilson (MZUSP); Marlies Sazima and Micael E. Nagai for their Journal of Ornitholog y, 124: 403-405. loving support in the field and at home; Micael E. Nagai Sazima, I. & D’Angelo, G. B. (2015). Intake and handling of also for reading the first draft; two anonymous referees for plastic debris by Wood Storks at an urban site in South-eastern Brazil: possible causes and consequences. 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Ornithology Research – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 1, 2015
Keywords: Anhingidae; anthropogenic pollution; deleterious effects; foraging impairment
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