Food habits of the Eurasian Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo) in Cheile Dobrogei Gorge
Scientific Annals of the Danube Delta Institute
The first detailed feeding record of the Eurasian Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo) in Cheia Gorge, the Casimcea plateau, Romania is reported. The diet contained mammals (51.41 %), birds (43.66 %) and amphibians (4.93 %). A total of 11 mammal species were recorded, comprising representatives of four orders (Insectivora, Rodentia, Lagomorpha, Carnivora). Rodents dominated the diet spectrum (42.56 % of all consumed prey), with the Romanian Hamster (Mesocricetus newtoni) being the most frequent (22.5 %),
... uent (22.5 %), followed by the Sibling Vole (Microtus epiroticus) and the Mound-building Mice (Mus spicilegus). Mammals comprise 40.1 % of the consumed biomass. From biomass point of view the most important species is the Romanian Hamster (16.2 %),but the East-European Hedgehog (Erinaceus concolor) and the European Hare (Lepus europaeus) have an important share in the diet,too. The bird food is much more diverse; altogether 27 species were recorded, representing a number of eight orders. The birdcomponent of the diet is the most important in terms of biomass (59.2 %). Besides the pigeons and doves (35.4 %) as well as waterfowl(8.10 %) the Galliformes (5.4 %) and the songbirds (5.1 %) are to be mentioned.The most important taxonomic group is theColumbiformes (18.3 % of MNI), represented by only three species. The House Pigeon (Columba livia domestica) is the most used birdspecies (12.7 % of MNI). Smaller mammals, other birds and amphibians made up a small portion of the diet in terms of biomass. The diet composition is compared to similar studies, highlighting the importance of the steppe habitat and prey species' diversity for themaintenance of this owl population. The results suggest that the Eurasian Eagle Owl is an opportunistic feeder, capable to exploit also species well adapted to steppe environments.