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Diet and Prey Delivery of Burrowing Owls (Athene cunicularia hypugaea) During the Breeding Season in the Chihuahuan Desert, Mexico

Ayma, Gabriel Ruiz, Kerstupp, Alina Olalla, Velasco, Antonio Guzmán, Rojas, José I. González
TheJournal of raptor research 2019 v.53 no.1 pp. 75-83
Acrididae, Athene cunicularia, Gastropoda, Hemiptera, Hymenoptera, Tenebrionidae, biomass, birds, breeding season, diet, ecology, females, invertebrates, males, mammals, reptiles, Chihuahuan Desert, Mexico
We studied the diet and prey delivery behavior of Burrowing Owls (Athene cunicularia hypugaea) during the breeding season in the southeastern Chihuahuan desert, Mexico. The diet of the Burrowing Owl included 8 orders, 13 invertebrate families, and 5 genera of mammals, gastropods, reptiles, and birds. By frequency, invertebrates (Orthoptera, Coleoptera, Hymenoptera, and Hemiptera) were the most common prey, with vertebrates making up a much smaller proportion. However, by biomass, owls consumed mainly vertebrates (56.7%). Among invertebrates, the families Tenebrionidae and Acrididae accounted for 33.2% of the total consumed biomass. Females delivered more prey items than males (55.6% and 44.4%, respectively). Our observations contribute to our knowledge of the ecology of this owl in a region where it has been little studied.