Seasonal diets of the Denali Caribou Herd, Alaska
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Rodney D. Boertje
Publication Year: 1984

Cataloging Information

  • caribou
  • Denali National Park and Preserve
  • diets
  • fecal analysis
  • food habits
  • Rangifer
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: December 3, 2015
FRAMES Record Number: 3701


Food habits of the Denali (formerly McKinley) herd of barren-ground caribou (Rangifer tarandus granti) were studied during 1978-80 in Denali National Park, Alaska, with emphasis on diets of adult females. Data from fecal analyses, field observations, and forage digestibilities were combined to estimate diets. Spring (late May to July) diets contained primarily Salix leaves (41%), lichens (25%), forbs (16%), and graminoids (12%). Summer (mid-July to mid-August) diets were similar, containing about 46% Salix leaves, 17% lichens, 10% forbs, 10% graminoids, and 12% mushrooms. In contrast, autumn (mid-September to mid-October) diets consisted of primarily of lichens (43%) with lest proportions of forbs (9%), graminoids (14%), mushrooms (10%), and mosses (5%). Winter (mid-November to early May) diets consisted largely of lichens (62%) and small proportions of Vaccinium vitis-idaea (6%), forbs (7%), graminoids (11%), and mosses (10%).

Online Link(s):
Link to this document (515 KB; pdf)
Boertje, Rodney D. 1984. Seasonal diets of the Denali Caribou Herd, Alaska. Arctic 37(2): 161-165.