CSIRO Publishing blank image blank image blank image blank imageBooksblank image blank image blank image blank imageJournalsblank image blank image blank image blank imageAbout Usblank image blank image blank image blank imageShopping Cartblank image blank image blank image You are here: Journals > Australian Mammalogy   
Australian Mammalogy
  The Journal of the Australian Mammal Society
blank image Search
blank image blank image
blank image
  Advanced Search

Journal Home
About the Journal
Editorial Structure
Online Early
Current Issue
Just Accepted
All Issues
Special Issues
Sample Issue
For Authors
General Information
Submit Article
Author Instructions
For Referees
Referee Guidelines
Review an Article
For Subscribers
Subscription Prices
Customer Service
Print Publication Dates
Library Recommendation

blue arrow e-Alerts
blank image
Subscribe to our Email Alert or RSS feeds for the latest journal papers.

red arrow Connect with CP
blank image
facebook twitter logo LinkedIn

red arrow Connect with AMS
blank image


Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 31(1)

The effects of drought on prey selection of the barn owl (Tyto alba) in the Strzelecki Regional Reserve, north-eastern South Australia

Matthew C. McDowell A B, Graham C. Medlin A

A Mammal Section, South Australian Museum, North Terrace, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia.
B School of Biological Science, Flinders University of South Australia, PO Box 1200, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia.
PDF (334 KB) $25
 Export Citation


Changes in the diet of the barn owl (Tyto alba) were determined by analysing 619 egested pellets collected in eight samples over 12 months from a roost in the Strzelecki Regional Reserve, north-eastern South Australia. These data were used to examine the occurrence and change in frequency of small vertebrates in the region. In January 2003, at the end of a prolonged dry period, reptiles (predominantly geckos) dominated the diet of the barn owl, forming over 74% of Prey Units (PU%). This is the first Australian study to report reptiles as the primary prey of the barn owl. After substantial rain in February 2003, mammalian prey became much more common, and eventually accounted for almost 80 PU%. At least nine species of small mammal, at least four reptiles, nine birds and a frog were identified from the pellets. Mammalian prey included Leggadina forresti, Mus musculus, Notomys fuscus (endangered), Pseudomys desertor (not previously recorded in the reserve), P. hermannsburgensis, Planigale gilesi, Sminthopsis crassicaudata, S. macroura and Tadarida australis. This research showed that barn owls are capable of switching to alternative prey when mammals become rare, but that they return to preferred prey as soon as it becomes available.

Subscriber Login

Legal & Privacy | Contact Us | Help


© CSIRO 1996-2016