Diet composition of syntopically breeding falcon species Falco vespertinus and Falco tinnunculus in south-western Slovakia

Open access

Abstract

The red-footed falcon and Eurasian falcon represent two syntopical falcon species. While the Eurasian falcon is considered a common and numerous species in Slovakia, the red-footed falcon population has undergone a considerable decline during the past few decades. Nowadays it nests in a single locality in Slovakia, the Sysľovské polia Special Protection Area, which forms the northern and fragmented border of the species distribution area in Europe. By analysing prey remains from 9 nests (from 1998, 2001, 2013, 2014 and 2016), we identified 433 prey items belonging to 35 taxa and 9 orders. Every year, invertebrates made up the major part of the diet spectrum, in which Calosoma auropunctatum, Tettigonia viridissima, Zabrus tenebrioides, Anisoplia aegetum and Rhizotrogus sp. were the most frequent species of prey. Of the vertebrates, Microtus arvalis was the most hunted prey species. By supplementary analysis of 21 photos, we extended our knowledge on the diet by other 6 taxa. The peak of the M. arvalis population growth in 2014 did not manifest itself in the red-footed falcon diet composition. In 1998, 2014 and 2016 we also studied the diet of a syntopical species, the Eurasian kestrel. By analysing prey remains in 22 nests, we identified 1,151 prey items belonging to 37 taxa and 7 orders. In 1998 and 2014 vertebrates predominated, especially the common vole, however in 2016 invertebrates prevailed. This fact could be a reaction to the M. arvalis population peak in 2014 and its decline in 2016. These results suggest that this variability in the foraging behaviour of the Eurasian kestrel, an opportunistic predator, during the hunting of invertebrates increases the diet similarity and overlapping of the food niche of both studied falcon species.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Balát F 1971: O zaniklém hnízdišti poštolky rudonohé (Falco vespertinas) na jižním Slovensk [On abandoned nesting site of the red-footed falcon (Falco vespertinas) in southern Slovakia]. Ochrana fauny 5: 87–92. [In Czech]

  • Balát F & K Bauer 1955: K poznání potravy a hnízdení našich poštolek [On the food and breeding of our kestrels]. Zoologické a entomologické listy 18: 99–104. [In Czech with German summary]

  • Baláž I Ambros Tulis F Veselovský T Klimant P & Augustiničová G 2013: Hlodavce a hmyzožravce Slovenska [Rodents and insectivores of Slovakia]. FPV UKF Nitra 198. [In Slovak with English summary]

  • Béltekiné GA Ezer Á Fehérvári P Nagy A Palatitz P & Soit S 2010: Conservation of red-footed falcon (Falco vespertinas) in the Pannonian region 2006–2009. MME/BirdLife Hungary Budapest 11.

  • Bezzel E & Hölzinger J 1969: Untersuchungen zur Nahrung des Rotfußfalken (Falco vespertinas) bei Ulm. Aus der Staatlichen Vogelschutzwarte Garmisch–Partenkirchen bei der Baye 8: 446–451.

  • BirdLife International 2016a: Falco vespertinas. The IUCN red list of threatened species 2016: e. T22696432A84476145. Retrieved March 13 2017 from http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016–3.RLTS.T22696432A84476145.en.

  • BirdLife International 2016b: Falco tinnunculus. The IUCN red list of threatened species 2016: e.T22696362A93556429. Retrieved June 20 2017 from http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016–3.RLTS.T22696362A93556429.en.

  • Borcard D Gillet F & Legendre P 2011: Numerical Ecology with R. Springer New York PAGES???.

  • Cepák J Klvaňa P Škopek J Schröpfer L Jelínek M Hořák D Formánek J & Zárybnický J 2008: Atlas migrace ptáků České republiky a Slovenska [Czech and Slovak bird migration atlas]. Aventinum Praha PAGES??? [in Czech with English summaries]

  • Costantini D Casagrande S Di Lieto G Fanfani A & DelľOmo G 2005: Consistent differences in feeding habits between neighbouring breeding kestrels. Behaviour 142(9–10): 1403–1415.

  • Cox TF & Cox MAA 2001: Multidimensional scaling. Chapman and Hall London 299.

  • Cramp S & Simmons KEL 1980: The birds of the western Palearctic vol. 2. Oxford University Press 695.

  • Darolová A 1989: Potrava sokola myšiara (Falco tinnunculus L. 1758) v podmienkach mestskej aglomerácie Bratislavy [Food of Eurasian kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) in Bratislava urban aglomeration]. Biológia Bratislava 44(6): 575–584.

  • Dinev I 2013: The darkling beetle (Alphitobius diaperinus) – a heath hazard for broiler chicken production. Trakia Journal of Sciences 1: 1–4.

  • del Hoyo J Elliot A & Sargatal J 1994: Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 2. New world vultures to guineafowl. Lynx editions Barcelona 638.

  • Fattorini S Manganaro A Piatella E & Salvati L 1990: Role of the beetles in raptor diets from a mediterranean urban area (Coleoptera). Fragmenta Entomologica 31(1): 57–69.

  • Fargallo JA Blanco G Potti J & Viñuela J 2001: Nest-box provisioning in a rural population of eurasian kestrels: breeding performance nest predation and parasitism. Bird Study 48(2): 236–244.

  • Ferguson-Lees J & Christie DA 2001: Raptors of the world London: Christopher Helm London 992 p.

  • Fülöp Z & Szlivka L 1988: Contribution to the food biology of the red-footed falcon (Falco vespertinus) Aquila 95: 174–181.

  • Giljarov MS 1964: Opredelitel obitajushtchich v potchve litchinok nasekomych. [Key to identification of insect larvae living in the soil]. Nauka Moskva 919. [in Russian]

  • Haraszthy L Rékási J & Bagyura J 1994: Food of the red-footed falcon (Falco vespertinas) in the breeding period. Aquila 101: 93–110.

  • Holling CS 1965: The functional response of predators to prey density and its role in mimicry and population regulation. The Memoirs of the Entomological Society of Canada 97: 5–60.

  • Horváth L 1963: A kékvércse (Falco vespertinas L.) és a kis őrgébics (Lanius minor Gm.) élettörténetének összehasonlító vizsgálata I. A tavaszi érkezéstől a fíókák kikeléséig [Comparing life history of redfooted falcons (Falco vespertinus L.) and lesser grey shrikes (Lanius minor Gm.) from spring arrival to hatching] Vertebrata Hungarica 5(1–2): 69–121. [in Hungarian with German summary]

  • Horváth L 1964: A kék vércse (Falco vespertinus L.) és a kis őrgébics (Lanius minor Gm.) élettörténetének összehasonlító vizsgálata II. A fíókák kikelésétől az őszi vonulásig [Comparative study on the life history of the red-footed falcon (Falco vespertinus L.) and the lesser grey shrike (Lanius minor Gm.) II. From the hatching of chicks in the autumn migration]. Vertebrata hungarica 6(1–2): 13–39. [in Hungarian with German summary]

  • Horváth L 1975: Social pattern and behavior between two falco species (Aves). Annales historico-naturales Musei nationalis Hungarici 67: 327–331.

  • Chinery M 1987: Pareys Buch der Insekten: Ein Feld-führer der europäischen Insekten [Pareys book of insects: A field guide of european insects]. Verlag Paul Parey Hamburg and Berlin PAGES?????? [in German].

  • Itämies J & Korpimäki E 1987: Insect food of the kestrel Falco tinnunculus during breeding in western Finland. Aquilo Ser. Zoológica 25: 21–31.

  • Jacob J & Tkadlec E 2010: Rodent outbreaks in Europe: dynamics and damage 207–223. In: Singleton GR Belmain S Brown PR & Hardy B (eds.) Rodent outbreaks: ecology and impacts International Rice Research Institute Los Banos Philippines 289.

  • Jacob J Manson P Barfknecht R & Fredricks T 2013: Common vole (Microtus arvalis) ecology and management: implications for risk assessment of plant protection products. Pest Management Science 70(6): 869–878.

  • Karaska D Trnka A Krištín A & Ridzoň J 2015: Chránené vtáčie územia Slovenska. [Special protection areas of Slovakia] Štátna ochrana prírody SR Banská Bystrica 380.

  • Keve A & Szijj J 1957: Distribution biologie et alimentation du faucon kobez Falco vespertinus L. en Hongrie. Alauda 25(1): 1–23.

  • Kečkéšová L & Noga M 2008: The diet of the common kestrel in the urban environment of the city of Nitra. Slovak Raptor Journal 2: 81–85.

  • Kleijn D Kohler F Báldi A Batáry P Concepción ED Clough Y Díaz M Gabriel D Holzschuh A Rnop E Kovács A Marshall EJP Tscharntke T & Verhulst J 2009: On the relationship between farmland biodiversity and land-use intensity in Europe. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 276: 903–909. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2008.1509.

  • Kochanek HM 1990: Ernährung des Turmfalken (Falco tinnunculus): Ergebnisse von Nestinhaltsanalysen und automatischer Registrierung. Journal of Ornithology 131(3): 291–304.

  • Korpimäki E 1984: Population dynamics of birds of prey in relation to fluctuations in small mammal populations in western Finland. Annales Zoologici Fennici 21(3): 287–293.

  • Korpimäki E 1985: Diet of the kestrel Falco tinnunculus in the breeding season. Ornis Fennica 62(3): 130–137.

  • Korpimäki E 1986: Diet variation hunting habitat and reproductive output of the kestrel Falco tinnunculus in the light of the optimal diet theory. Ornis Fennica 63(3): 84–90.

  • Korpimäki E & Norrdahl K 1991: Numerical and functional responses of kestrels short-eared owls and long-eared owls to vole densities. Ecology 72(3): 814–826.

  • Kotymán L Solt S Horváth É Palatitz P & Fehérvári P 2015: Demography breeding success and effects of nest type in artificial colonies of red-footed falcons and allies. Ornis Hungarica 23(1): 1–21.

  • Kreft H & Jetz W 2010: A framework for delineating biogeographical regions based on species distributions. Journal of Biogeography 37: 2029–2053.

  • Krištín A Tulis F Klimant P Bacsa K & Ambros M 2017: Food supply (Orthoptera Mantodea Rodentia and Eulipotyphla) and food preferences of the redfooted falcon in Slovakia. Slovak Raptor Journal 11: 1–14. DOI: 0.1515/srj-2017-0005.

  • Lebedeva NV & Ermolaev AI 2012: Colonial nesting of red-footed falcon Falco vespertinus L. in near lake Manych-Gudilo. Arid Ecosystems 2(3): 177–185.

  • Legendre P & Legendre L 1998: Numerical ecology. Elsevier Science B.V. Amsterdam Netherlands 852.

  • Masman D Gordijn M Daan S & Dijkstra C 1986: Ecological energetics of the kestrel: field estimates of energy intake throughout the year. Ardea 74: 24–39.

  • Mikula P 2012: Zloženie potravy sokola myšiara (Falco tinnunculus) počas letného obdobia v Bardejove na severovýchodnom Slovensku. [Diet of the common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) during summer in Bardejov in northeastern Slovakia] Sylvia 48: 109–114. [In Slovak with English summary]

  • Mikula P Hromada M & Tryjanowski P 2013: Bats and swifts as food of the European kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) in a small town in Slovakia. Ornis Fennica 90(3): 178–185.

  • Nuhlíčková S Krištín A Degma P & Hoi H 2016: Variability in hoopoe Upupa epops diet: annual and sampling effect. Folia Zoologica 65(3): 189–199.

  • Oksanen J Blanchet FG Kindt R Legendre P Minchin PR O’Hara RB Simpson GL Solymos P Stevens MHH & Wagner H 2013: Vegan: community ecology package version 2.0–8. Retrieved on February 22 2017 from http://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/vegan/index.html.

  • Palatitz P Fehérvári P Soit S Kotymán L Neidert D & Hamos A 2011: Exploratory analyses of foraging habitat selection of the red-footed falcon (Falco vespertinas). Acta Zoologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 57(3): 255–268.

  • Palatitz P Solt S Horváth É & Kotymán L 2015: Hunting efficiency of red-footed falcons in different habitats. Ornis Hungarica 23(1): 32–47.

  • Pechacek P & Krištín A 2004: Comparative diets of adult and young three-toed woodpecker in a european alpine forest community. Journal of Wildlife Management 68 (3): 683–693.

  • Pianka ER 1973: The structure of lizard communities. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 4: 53–74.

  • Purger J 1998: Diet of red-footed falcon Falco vespertinas nestlings from hatching to fledging. Ornis Fennica 75(4): 185–191.

  • Purger J 2001: Defence behaviour of red-footed falcons Falco vespertinas in the breeding period and the effects of disturbance on breeding success. Ornis Fennica 78(1): 13–21.

  • Purger J & Tepavcevic A 1999: Pattern analysis of redfooted falcon (Falco vespertinas) nests in the rook (Corvas frugilegus) colony near Torda (Voivodina Yugoslavia) using fuzzy correspondences and entropy. Ecological Modeling 117(1): 91–97.

  • R Core Team 2016: R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing Vienna Austria. Retrieved March 31 2016 from URL https://www.R-project.org/.

  • Riegert J Dufek A Fainová D Mikeš V & Fuchs R 2007: Increased hunting effort buffers against vole scarcity in an urban kestrel Falco tinnunculus population. Bird Study 54(3): 353–361.

  • Riegert J Lövy M & Fainová D 2009: Diet composition of common kestrels Falco tinnunculus and long-eared owls Asio otus coexisting in an urban environment. Ornis Fennica 86(4): 123–130.

  • Romanowski J 1996: On the diet of urban kestrels (Falco tinnunculus) in Warsaw. Buteo 8: 123–130.

  • Rosenberg K & Cooper RJ 1990: Approaches to avian diet analysis. Studies in Avian Biology 13: 80–90.

  • Szövényi G 2015: Orthopteran insects as potential and preferred preys of the red-footed falcon (Falco vespertius) in Hungary. Ornis Hungarica 23(1): 48–57.

  • Slobodník R Chavko J Lengyel J Maderič B & Noga M 2014: Prežije na Slovensku sokol červenonohý? [Will red-footed falcon survive in Slovakia?] 23. In: Lešo P (ed.): Aplikovaná ornitológia. Zborník abstraktov z 26. stredoslovenskej ornitologickej konferencie [Applied ornithology. Book of the abstracts from the 26th Central Slovak Ornithological Conference] TU vo Zvolene Zvolen 29. [In Slovak]

  • Slobodník R Chavko J Lengyel J Noga M & Maďerič В 2016: Vývoj vybrané hniezdne charakteristiky a ochrana populácie sokola červenonohého na JZ Slovensku [Development selected nesting characteristics and red-footed falcon population conservation in the southwestern Slovakia] 193–195. In: Krumpálová Z Zigová M & Tulis F (eds.) Zborník príspevkov z vedeckého kongresu “Zoológia 2016” [Proceeding from the science congress “Zoology 2016”] Univerzita Konštatína Filiozofa v Nitre Nitra 249. [In Slovak]

  • Szövényi G 2015: Orthopteran insects as potential and preferred preys of the red-footed falcon (Falco vespertinas) in Hungary. Ornis Hungarica 23(1): 48–57.

  • Šustek Z 1994: Impact of pollution by nickel leaching rest on Carabidae Silphidae and Staphylinidae in the surroundings of the nickel smelting plant at Sered’ (Slovakia). Biologia Bratislava 46: 709–721.

  • Šustek Z 2009: Changes of secondary productivity of Carabid communities (Insecta: Coleoptera) in natural forests ecosystems in relation to geological substrate and vertical zonality. Oltenia. Studii şi comunicoăi. Ştiinţele Naturi 25: 83–90.

  • Tella JL Forero MG Hiraldo F & Donázar JA 1998: Conflicts between lesser kestrel conservation and European agricultural policies as identified by habitat use analyses. Conservation Biology 12(3): 593–604.

  • Tryjanowski P Karg MK Karg J 2003: Food of the red-backed shrike Lanius collurio: a comparison of three methods of diet analysis. Acta Ornithologica 38: 59–64

  • Tulis F Krumpálová Z Šustek Z Noga M & Slobodník R 2016: Potrava dvoch sympatricky sa vyskytujúcich druhov sokola červenonohého Falco vespertinus a sokola myšiara Falco tinnunculus na JZ Slovensku. [Diet of two sympatric species of falcons Falco vespertinus a Falco tinnunculus in SW Slovakia] 223–224. In: Krumpálová Zigová M & Tulis F (eds): Zborník príspevkov z kongresu “Zoológia 2016” Univerzita Konštatína Filiozofa v Nitre Nitra 249. [In Slovak]

  • Ursua E Serrano D & Telia J L 2005: Does land irrigation actually reduce foraging habitat for breeding lesser kestrels? The role of crop types. Biological Conservation 122(4): 643–648.

  • Varvara M Cimişliu C & Šustek Z 2012: Distribution and abundance of Calosoma auropunctatum Herbst 1784 (Coleoptera: Carabidae) in some agricultural crops in Romania 1977–2010. Oltenia. Studii şi comunicări. Ştiinţele Naturi 28: 79–90.

  • Village A 1982: The diet of kestrels in relation to vole abundance. Bird Study 29(2): 129–138.

  • Village A 1990: The kestrel. T. &. A.D. Poyser London 352.

  • Żmihorski M & Rejt Ł 2007: Weather-dependent variation in the cold-season diet of urban kestrels Falco tinnunculus. Acta Ornithologica 42: 107–113.

Search
Journal information
Impact Factor


CiteScore 2018: 0.38

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.157
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.331

Metrics
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 291 94 3
PDF Downloads 183 66 6