Differences in food preferences between two sympatric canids, the golden jackal (Canis aureus), which is currently spreading from south-east Europe and is a little-known species in Europe, and the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) were investigated. Data on diet composition and food availability were collected over a 13-season period, in a temperate climate agricultural area of Hungary. We found that jackals and foxes preferred small mammals (Ivlev's electivity index, Ei=0.38 and 0.39, respectively), and avoided towards wild boar (Ei= -0.43 and -0.56, respectively) and cervids (Ei=-0.92 and -0.94, respectively). Jackals preferred pheasant less than foxes (Ei=0.06 and 0.51, respectively). Within small mammals, both predators preferred the open field living species, with the forest living species being less favoured. The relationship between the available biomass of small mammals, as the primarily important food resource for both canids, and the proportion of consumed biomass of small mammals was not close. This was probably as a result of abundant food resources and high trophic flexibility of the golden jackal and red fox allowing these two closely related carnivores to coexist sympatrically in Central European areas without resource partitioning.
©2010 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin New York