Behaviour patterns of South American swans and potential ecosystem services supplied to salt production systems
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Keywords

Black-necked swan
Chile
Coscoroba swan
feeding behaviour
salt works

Abstract

Wetland salt works with handcrafted production are scarce in Chile. This activity is the base of the maintenance of some local communities’ economy, establishing small rural groups and helping in the conservation of the cultural traditions. These wetlands provide an important habitat for southern hemisphere swan species. Salt workers point out that among the most laborious tasks to keep the salt pans running, is the removal of macrophytes from their production systems. We evaluated the behaviour of two threatened swan species in these wetlands to check if they provide an ecosystem service to salt workers. Our results showed that the main behaviour recorded was the activity of feeding, where the swans spend more than 45% of their time. Considering that each individual can ingest approx. 12-16 kg of food daily, it is shown that swans could provide an ecosystem service through the removal of macrophytes. There were no significant differences in behaviors between species, but between sampling sites, in behaviors such as self-maintenance, which was related to the degree of disturbance of these. Our findings are novelty evidence of the role of swans as ecosystem services providers for salt workers. These results highlight that the maintenance of traditional industries could be a win-win strategy for bird conservation.

https://doi.org/10.4067/S0717-65382023000200097
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Copyright (c) 2023 Carolina Allendes-Muñoz, Marcelo Miranda-Cavallieri, Camilo Matus-Olivares, Fulgencio Lisón

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