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Volume 70, Issue 5


Responses of the long-eared owl Asio otus diet and the numbers of wintering individuals to changing abundance of the common vole Microtus arvalis

Filip Tulis
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra, Tr. A. Hlinku 1, SK-94974, Nitra, Slovakia;
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Michal Baláž
  • Department of Biology and Ecology, Catholic University, Hrabovská cesta 1, SK-03401 Ružomberok, Slovakia
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Ján Obuch / Karol Šotnár
Published Online: 2015-06-23 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/biolog-2015-0074


Opportunistic predator like the long-eared owl is able to respond to population fluctuations of its main prey. The composition of the winter diet of this owl species was investigated during the period of 13 winters (1992-2000, 2006-2011) in agricultural areas in Slovakia. In total, we found 23 mammal species and 33 bird species (H′ = 0.82) in pellets. The frequency of the dominant prey species, the common vole, varied from 57.7% to 92.4%. Our data show that the abundance of the common vole: (i) had biggest impact on the food niche breadth of the long-eared owl; (ii) when in decline, it was significantly compensated by the increase in the amount of 15 other accessory species (subject to the specific diet offered during the study winters); (iii) was positively correlated with the number of owls in the winter-roost, which varied during the 13 studied winters.

Keywords: long-eared owl; prey; pellets; winter-roost; common vole fluctuation


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About the article

Received: 2014-11-21

Accepted: 2015-03-12

Published Online: 2015-06-23

Published in Print: 2015-05-01

Citation Information: Biologia, Volume 70, Issue 5, Pages 667–673, ISSN (Online) 1336-9563, ISSN (Print) 0006-3088, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/biolog-2015-0074.

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