First evidence for carrion–feeding of Eurasian Eagle-owl (Bubo bubo) in Bulgaria

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Abstract

Three cases of carrion-feeding with remains of artiodactyls (0.3%, n=1104 samples with food remains) have been documented in a long term diet study of Eurasian Eagle-owls (Bubo bubo) in 53 localities at Southeastern Bulgaria. Bone pieces of a sheep/goat (Ovis aries/Carpa hircus), a Fallow Deer (Dama dama) and a Domestic Pig (Sus scrofa dom.) in three Eurasian Eagle-owl breeding localities (5.7%) prove extremely rare feeding on carrion. Northern White-breasted Hedgehog (Erinaceus roumanicus), rats (Rattus sp.), waterbirds and gallinaceous birds (total 59.5-72.6% by biomass) constituted the main portion of the diets with carrion remains. The comparisons between food niche breadths, diet composition, average prey biomass and values of superpredation of the annual diets in the three localities have not supported the carrion-feeding of the Eurasian Eagle-owl as a result of food shortages.

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