THE DIET OF THE TUCÚQUERE (BUBO VIRGINIANUS MAGELLANICUS) IN ANDEAN CENTRAL CHILE
Keywords:Magellan horned owl, pellet, prey, trophic niche, Chile
The tucúquere (Bubo virginianus magellanicus) is a bird of prey with an agro-ecological and environmental relevance in Chile. However, there is a gap about the composition of the diet of B. v. magellanicus in mountainous regions of central Chile, where interaction with the human population is large and anthropic derived habitat changes are increasing. Ninety-one regurgitated pellets from two birds were collected. Analysis of pellet weight, length and width and prey characterisation to the species level, absolute and relative abundance were obtained. Trophic niche (Levin Shannon-Wiener and Smith index) were calculated. The average weight, length and width of pellets were 9.84 g, 5.67 cm and 3.26 mm, respectively. A consumption of 12 different species of prey was evidenced, being the most consumed Lepus capensis (23.53%), followed by Abrocoma bennetti (20.59%) and then other species of small rodents, and an undetermined bird and insect. The trophic niche amplitude for normal and standardised Levin, normal and standardised Shannon-Wiener and Smith (TF) indexes were 6.72, 0.52, 2.11, 0.85 and 0.90, respectively. This is the first evidence of a diet based mainly on Lepus capensis in central Chile for B. v. magellanicus, who seems to be a more generalist predator than previous studies. The results are of significance for the understanding of feeding habits and conservation efforts for raptor species in Chile and South America.
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