Publication details.


Author(s):A. López-García, A. Sanz-Aguilar, J. Aguirre
Title:The trade-offs of foraging at landfills: Landfill use enhances hatching success but decrease the juvenile survival of their offspring on white storks (Ciconia ciconia)
Abstract:© 2021 Elsevier B.V.During the last decades, landfills have become a valuable food source for wildlife, being in some cases determinants of large avian population increases. Superabundant food resources at landfills can increase reproductive and/or survival parameters; however, negative effects such as intoxication, plastic ingestion, skeletal deformities, unbalanced oxidative stress, and other health problems have also been reported. White stork (Ciconia ciconia) commonly benefits from landfill resources. Here, we evaluate potential landfill effects on demographic parameters (reproduction and offspring survival) at the individual level in a single population. Our results show that a more intense use of landfills by breeders has a positive effect on hatching success but a negative effect on juvenile survival probability after emancipation, at least during the first year of life. High amount of food and proximity to landfill may explain their beneficial effect on reproductive parameters. On the other hand, poor quality food, pollutants, and pathogens acquired during early development from a diet based on refuse may be responsible for reduced future survival probability. Consequently, both positive and negative effects were detected, being foraging at landfills at low to medium levels the better strategy. Although our study shows that intense foraging on rubbish can imply both costs and benefits at an individual level, the benefits of superabundant food provisioning observed at population level by other studies cannot be ignored. Management actions should be designed to improve natural food resources, reduce non-natural mortality and/or human disturbances to guarantee the species viability under current European Union regulations designed to ban open-air landfills in a near future.

Related staff

  • Ana Sanz Aguilar
  • Related departments

  • Animal and Microbial Biodiversity
  • Related research groups

  • Ecology and Evolution