Sex-specific comparative analysis of diet in the Tawny Owl Strix aluco in the Iberian Peninsula


Published: Volume 47(2), December 2000. Pages 203-213.

Language: Spanish

Original Title: AnÁlisis comparativo de la dieta de ambos sexos en el CÁrabo Común (Strix aluco) en la península Ibérica

Keywords: diet, Iberian Peninsula, sexual-dimorphism, Spain and Strix aluco.


Sex specific differences in the diet of Tawny Owls were analysed by use of 158 stomach contents (65 males and 93 females) with 688 prey. Both males and females could take similar-size prey but there are clear differences in diet. Males, smaller than females, are more efficient hunters. They prefer to take forest rodens, and their complementary prey are shrews, birds and invertebrates (mainly coleoptera). The preys usually taken are nimble and fast. Rodents are also their more frequent prey, but they prefer open-site species (Muridae) over forest ones (Microtidae), males being more specialized. Females, larguer and heavier than males, are more generalized in diet, both taxonomically and with repect to biomass clases, while male diet is more selective. Tawny Owls are territorial and their knowledge of territory and local topography determines the kinds of prey captured. It seems that females, due to their larguer size, tend to economize searching costs, whereas males reduce the costs of handling.

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