Food partitioning between breeding White-tailed Kites(Elanus leucurus; Aves; Accipitridae) and Barn Owls(Tyto alba; Aves; Tytonidae) in southern Brazil

White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus) Science Article 1

abstract

I examined the diet of breeding White-tailed Kites (Elanus leucurus; Aves; Accipitridae) and Barn Owls (Tyto alba; Aves; Tytonidae) in an agrarian area of southern Brazil by analyzing regurgitated prey remains. The objective was to evaluate how these raptors, which differ markedly in their hunting activity periods (owls are nocturnal and kites diurnal),share their mammalian food component. 2,087 prey consumed by Barn Owls and 1,276 by White-tailed Kites were identified. They presented a high overlap of food-niches (Pianka’s index was 0.98). Based on the daily activity period of their main small mammal prey, a lower overlap would be expected. The crepuscular/nocturnal Mus musculus was the main prey for the diet of breeding Barn Owls (81%) and White-tailed Kites (63%). This small exotic rodent provided 63% of the small mammal biomass ingested by owls and 44% by kites. Larger native small mammals were also considered important for the diet of kites, mainly because of their biomass contribution. Although these raptors differ markedly in their hunting activity periods, Barn Owls and White-tailed Kites are very similar predators in southernBrazil, overlapping their diets.

Scheibler, DR., Braz. J. Biol., 67(1): 65-71, 2007

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