Seasonal variation in the diet of two predators in an agroecosystem in southern-central Chile

Zuniga, A. H. - Fuenzalida, V - Sandoval, R. - Encina, F.
Datos de publicación:
Barn owl - Chilla fox - Diet overlap - Feeding behavior - Non-invasive methods - Trophic isoclines
In ecosystems, seasonal fluctuations in the availability of resources can promote effects on species with similar trophic requirements, increasing the probability of interspecific competition. This scenario becomes more evident in human-dominated landscapes where homogenization of space can contribute to the shortage of resources, modifying species feeding behavior to an uncertain degree. Understanding how these species modify their feeding habits within the context of habitat transformation is of special interest. We evaluated the diversity of prey and overlap for two predators, the chilla fox Lycalopex griseus and the barn owl Tyto alba, during three seasons in 2018 (winter, spring and summer). The study was based on the analysis of feces and pellets in a landscape with agricultural predominance in Southern-central Chile. We found the chilla fox had a generalist dietary profile, feeding on a broad spectrum of prey, with predominance of lagomorphs and, to a lesser extent, rodents.In contrast, the diet of the barn owl mainly consisted of small rodents, with little variation across seasons. Analyses of dietary overlap showed fluctuations during the periods surveyed, with a maximum value in winter and a minimum value in spring. Variations in the consumption of prey based on their size could facilitate their coexistence in the study area.

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