Wildlife Research Wildlife Research Society
Ecology, management and conservation in natural and modified habitats

Seasonal Changes in Diet Preferences of Free-Ranging Red Kangaroos, Euros and Sheep in Western New South Wales.

BA Ellis, EM Russell, TJ Dawson and CJF Harrop

Australian Wildlife Research 4(2) 127 - 144
Published: 1977


Stomach contents of free-ranging animals were analysed botanically for low Atriplex shrubland in western New South Wales, Australia, during 1972-74 in good seasons producing abundant growth and diversity of vegetation. Red kangaroo (Megaleia rufa), euro (Macropus robustus) and sheep (Ovis aries) selected grass and forbs when those were readily available. In poorer pasture sheep selected mainly flat-leaved chenopods (saltbush) and kangaroos selected mainly grass with different amounts of flat- or round-leaved chenopods. Euros were the most selective, eating grass even when there was little grass present. Potential overlaps in diet between kangaroos and sheep were greatest in good pasture and least in the poorest conditions. The other groups of plants considered were non-chenopod shrubs and browse. Extent of overlap was not clear, because animals may have eaten different species within the groups of plants. The study period did not include any severe drought, in which overlap in diet and competition between animal species would have been most significant.


© CSIRO 1977

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