Reversed sexual dimorphism and altered prey base : the effect on sooty owl (Tyto tenebricosa tenebricosa) diet

Bilney, Rohan J., White, John G. and Cooke, Raylene 2011, Reversed sexual dimorphism and altered prey base : the effect on sooty owl (Tyto tenebricosa tenebricosa) diet, Australian journal of zoology, vol. 59, no. 5, pp. 302-311, doi: 10.1071/ZO11101.

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Title Reversed sexual dimorphism and altered prey base : the effect on sooty owl (Tyto tenebricosa tenebricosa) diet
Formatted title Reversed sexual dimorphism and altered prey base: the effect on sooty owl (Tyto tenebricosa tenebricosa) diet
Author(s) Bilney, Rohan J.
White, John G.ORCID iD for White, John G.
Cooke, RayleneORCID iD for Cooke, Raylene
Journal name Australian journal of zoology
Volume number 59
Issue number 5
Start page 302
End page 311
Total pages 10
Publisher CSIRO Publishing
Place of publication Collingwood, Vic.
Publication date 2011-05-11
ISSN 0004-959X
Keyword(s) Australia

The ecology and function of many Australian predators has likely been disrupted following major changes in prey base due to declines in distribution and abundance of small mammals following European settlement. This study investigated various aspects of the dietary ecology of sooty owls (Tyto tenebricosa tenebricosa), including sexual variation as they potentially exhibit the greatest degree of reversed sexual dimorphism of any owl species worldwide. Sooty owls are highly opportunistic predators of non-volant small mammals, consuming most species known to exist in the region, so their diet fluctuates seasonally and spatially due to varying prey availability, and is particularly influenced by the breeding cycles of prey. Significant intersexual dietary differences existed with female sooty owls predominantly consuming much larger prey items than males, with dietary overlap at 0.62. The current reliance on relatively few native mammalian species is of conservation concern, especially when mammal declines are unlikely to have ceased as many threatening processes still persist in the landscape. Sooty owl conservation appears inextricably linked with small mammal conservation. Conservation efforts should be focussed towards improving prey densities and prey habitat, primarily by implementing control programs for feral predators and preventing the loss of hollow-bearing trees throughout the landscape

Language eng
DOI 10.1071/ZO11101
Field of Research 050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management
Socio Economic Objective 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
HERDC collection year 2011
Copyright notice ©2011, CSIRO
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