Small mammals in the winter diet of Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) from the Crimea: ecological and epizootological aspects. - N.N. Tovpinets, I.L. Evstaf’ev. - Berkut. 22 (2). 2013. - P. 113-121.
We present results of the long-term research of winter diet of the Long-eared Owl in the Crimea (1983–2012). Characteristics of owl winter ecology are provided with regard to location of wintering sites in various landscape zones. Abundance surveys of wintering birds in 187 localities showed that a single aggregation on average consists of 55–65 owls. Comparison of long-term data from the steppe Crimea and mountain foothills demonstrates significant difference in the mean number of wintering birds per aggregation (60.7 ± 1.1 and 36.7 ± 4.4 respectively; t = 4.51; р = 0.01). Winter diet of long-eared owls in the Crimea includes 11 species of small mammals and 8 species of birds (primarily, passerines). On average, 2.4 ± 1.0 specimens of small mammals were recorded per one owl pellet, an evidence for favorable foraging conditions for wintering owls during the period of study. 98.9% of winter prey consisted of small rodents and shrews. Proportion of birds made no more 1–2 %. The Social Vole was the dominating rodent species taking 56.8% in the diet. This is an evidence for selective owl hunt on this species. The leading species in circulation of tularemia bacterium in the Crimea are Social Vole, House Mouse and Gray Dwarf Hamster. [Russian].
Key words: ecology, feeding, selectivity, pellet, epizootology, rabbit-fever.
Address: N.N. Tovpinets, Crimean Republican Laboratory Center of the National Sanitary and Epidemiological Service of Ukraine; 67, Naberezhnaya st., Simferopol, 95034, AR Crimea, Ukraine; e-mail: