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Diet of the Desert Eagle Owl, Bubo ascalaphus, in Eastern Saudi Arabia

Diet of the Desert Eagle Owl, Bubo ascalaphus, in Eastern Saudi Arabia

Mounir R. Abi-Said1, Mohammad Al Zein2, Mohammad A. Abu Baker3 and Zuhair S. Amr3,4*

1Faculty of Sciences II, Lebanese University, Al-Fanar, Lebanon and Animal Encounter, Ras Al-Jabal, Aley, Lebanon
2Department of Biology, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, American University of Beirut, Lebanon
3Department of Biology, The University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan
4Department of Biology, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid, Jordan

*     Corresponding author: amrz@just.edu.jo

 

ABSTRACT

The diet composition of the Desert or Pharaoh Eagle Owl Bubo ascalaphus, was investigated in Eastern Saudi Arabia. 112 regurgitated pellets yielded 203 individual prey items representing at least eleven rodent species, unidentified bird(s), at least one scorpion, and other unidentified insects. Prey items were dominated by rodents (91%) which were found in 96.4% of the pellets. Birds, scorpions, and other insects constituted 2.46, 5.91, and 2.96% of the diet, respectively. Rodents contributed the most in terms of biomass, with the black rat, Rattus rattus, and desert jirds dominating the remains. The results suggested that the Desert Eagle Owl in the arid ecosystem in eastern Saudi Arabia is a highly selective feeder, hunting 1–5 prey items per day (mean±SD 1.77±0.96) mostly from ground-dwelling native and invasive rodents. Prey selection within this human-influenced area likely influenced by the availability and abundance of species and shifting to urban rodents.
 

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Pakistan Journal of Zoology

June

Vol. 52, Iss. 3, Pages 825-1224

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