Seasonal diet of the burrowing owl Athene cunicularia Molina, 1782 (Strigidae) in a hyperarid ecosystem of the Atacama desert in northern Chile

Carevic, Felipe S. - Carmona Ortíz, Erico - Muñoz Pedreros, Andrés
Datos de publicación:
Pampa del Tamarugal - Strigidae - Trophic ecology
Located in the Atacama desert of northern Chile, Pampa del Tamarugal is a hyperarid ecosystem characterized by extreme arid conditions (<0.7 mm of annual precipitation) and relatively scarce vegetation, dominated by arboreal species of Prosopis tamarugo. These unfavorable environmental conditions can affect the quantity and diversity of prey available for carnivores, making Pampa del Tamarugal an interesting environmental scenario for the study of the trophic ecology of raptors. Our analyses of the seasonal diet of the burrowing owl Athene cunicularia (Molina, 1782) indicate that insects and scorpions were the most common prey (58.3% and 27.5%, respectively). However, the rodent Phyllotis darwini was the most important prey in biomass (49.5%). Significant differences were observed in diverse trophic statisticians between summer and winter seasons. Unlike similar studies carried out in arid areas of South America and North America, we observe that the diet of the burrowing owl in Pampa del Tamarugal shows a higher trophic niche breadth and trophic diversity, but a lower species-prey richness. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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