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J. Donázar, A. Travaini, O. Ceballos, M. Delibes, F. Hiraldo (1997)Food habits of the Great Horned Owl in northwestern Argentine Patagonia: The role of introduced lagomorphs
Journal of Raptor Research, 31
M. Bó, Alejandro Baladrón, Laura Biondi (2007)Ecología trófica de Falconiformes y Strigiformes: tiempo de síntesis
K. Smallwood, Douglas Bell, Sara Snyder, Joseph Didonato (2010)Novel Scavenger Removal Trials Increase Wind Turbine–Caused Avian Fatality Estimates
Pablo Teta, Carolina Panti, Analía Andrade, A. Pérez (2001)Amplitud y composición de la dieta de Bubo virginianus (Aves, Stringiformes, Strigidae) en la Patagonia noroccidental argentina
J. Sarasola, M. Santillán, M. Galmes (2010)Crowned eagles rarely prey on livestock in central Argentina: persecution is not justified
Endangered Species Research, 11
M S Bó, A V Baladrón, L M Bionti (2007)Ecologia tr�fica de Falconiformes y Strigiformes: tiempo de s�ntesis
A. Formoso, Teta Pablo, Cheli Germán (2012)Food Habits of the Magellanic Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus magellanicus) at Southernmost Patagonia, Argentina
F Sérgio, F Hiraldo (2008)Intraguild predation in raptor assemblages: a review
J. Dragoo, S. Sheffield (2009)Conepatus leuconotus (Carnivora: Mephitidae)
A. Tomazzoni, Ezequiel Pedó, S. Hartz (2004)FOOD HABITS OF GREAT HORNED OWLS (BUBO VIRGINIANUS) IN THE BREEDING SEASON IN LAMI BIOLOGICAL RESERVE, SOUTHERN BRAZIL
Luis Pacheco, A. Lucero, M. Villca (2004)Dieta del puma (Puma concolor) en el Parque Nacional Sajama, Bolivia y su conflicto con la ganadería
J. Bennett, P. Bloom (2005)Home range and habitat use by Great Horned Owls (Bubo virginianus) in southern California
Journal of Raptor Research, 39
Lee Cromrich, D. Holt, S. Leasure (2002)Trophic niche of North American Great Horned Owls
Journal of Raptor Research, 36
P. Teta, F. Prevosti, A. Trejo (2008)Raptor predation and new locality records for the poorly known Patagonian Weasel (Lyncodon patagonicus) (Carnivora: Mustelidae)
Mammalian Biology, 73
Fabian Jaksic, C. Marti (1984)Comparative food habits of Bubo owls in mediterranean-type ecosystems
The Condor, 86
F. Hiraldo, J. Donázar, O. Ceballos, A. Travaini, J. Bustamante (1995)BREEDING BIOLOGY OF A GREY EAGLE-BUZZARD POPULATION IN PATAGONIA
The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, 107
G. Proudfoot (2011)Owls of the World, 2nd ed.
M. Allen, A. Taylor (2013)First Record of Scavenging by a Western Screech-Owl (Megascops kennicottii)
F Hiraldo, J A Donázar, O Ceballos, A Travaini, J Bustamante, M Funes (1995)Breeding biology of a Grey Eagle-Buzzard population
Wilson Bulletin, 107
F. Sergio, F. Hiraldo (2008)Intraguild predation in raptor assemblages: A review
(2006)Dieta del Búho Magallánico ( Bubo magellanicus ) en el Desierto de Monte y La Patagonia Argentina
Carlos Kasper (2011)Ecologia e história natural do zorrilho (Conepatus chinga) no sul do Brasil
Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, 23(4), 377-379 ARTICLE December 2015 Molina’s Hog-nosed Skunk as prey of the Great Horned Owl: predation or opportunist scavenging? 1 2,3 Juan Anza and Felipe Zilio Rua São Mateus, 1100, apto 704, bloco C, CEP 91410-030, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil. Museu de Ciências Naturais, Fundação Zoobotânica do Rio Grande do Sul, Rua Dr. Salvador França, 1427, CEP 90690-000, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil. Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org Received on 17 November 2014. Accepted on 16 March 2015. ABSTRACT: This note reports the observation of an adult Great Horned Owl ( Bubo virginianus) holding a Molina’s Hog-nosed Skunk (Conepatus chinga) in its claws. We assumed that it is a case of opportunistic predation because the skunk is larger than this owl’s regular preys. However, we could not exclude the possibility of opportunistic scavenging, despite this being an uncommon behavior for the Great Horned Owl. This is the first report of a Molina’s Hog-nosed Skunk preyed by a Great Horned Owl, an unusually large prey to an owl that preys mainly upon small mammals (e.g. rodents). Also, it is an uncommon report of consumption of mammal carnivores by owls in South America. KEY-WORDS: Bubo virginianus, Brazil, Conepatus chinga, raptor, South America. INTRODUCTION RESULTS Mammals are a common prey of raptors. Small mammals On 11 January 2014, around 09:00h, one of the authors are the main prey of several raptors and some large (JA) observed an adult Great Horned Owl perched on a raptors prey upon medium-sized mammals (Ferguson- eucalyptus tree at around 6 m above the ground. About Lees & Christie 2001, König & Weick 2008). Despite 30 min later, he returned to that place to photograph of that, there are not many examples of raptors preying the owl and noticed a pungent smell, characteristic of a upon carnivores (Jaksic & Marti 1984, Teta et al. 2008). distressed Molina’s Hog-nosed Skunk. About 20 m away Here we report the consumption of Molina’s Hog-nosed he located the Great Horned Owl perched on a eucalyptus Skunk (Conepatus chinga: Carnivora) by a Great Horned with a skunk in it claws (Figure 1). The skunk appeared Owl (Bubo virginianus: Strigiformes). This is the first to be an adult (although not a large one) based on its documented report of a Molina’s Hog-nosed Skunk as size compared to the owl. The skunk seemed to have died prey of a Great Horned Owl. recently (the hair was still bright and the wounds looked fresh). METHODS DISCUSSION The recor d occurred at the Estação Experimental Agronômica (EEA/UFRGS) (30°5'41"S; 51°40'21"W) The Great Horned Owl is a large predator (45 to 60 cm, in Eldorado do Sul, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. The North American subspecies up to 2.5 kg, South American EEA/UFRGS is a 1,580 ha property of the Universidade subspecies up to 1.2 kg) distributed from Alaska to Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS). Vegetation is Northeast Argentina, except in dense rainforest, such dominated by grasslands and patches of crops (used for as the core of Amazon region (König & Weick 2008). scientific purposes), surrounded by degraded riverine Widespread in several kind of habitat, in South America forests. The landscape is a mosaic of degraded grass lands, it has been associated to open habitats with scattered trees. crops, urban areas, riverine forests and exotic tree stands Although it is one of the most studied owl species of South (Eucalyptus spp., Pinus spp.). America (Bó et al. 2007), most of the work about Great The Molina’s Hog-nosed Skunk as prey of Great Horned Owl: predation or opportunist scavenging? Juan Anza and Felipe Zilio FIGURE 1. An adult Great Horned Owl holding a dead, partially eaten Molina’s Hog-nosed Skunk. Horned Owl is about the Magellanic Horned Owl (Bubo preys upon Red Foxes (Vulpes vulpes; 8 kg), European magellanicus) (Bó et al. 2007), former subspecies of Great Wildcats (Felis cf. silvestris; 7.5 kg), and Least Weasels Horned Owl. However, both species (hereafter Horned (Mustela nivalis, 100 g) (Jaksic & Marti 1984). However, Owls) appeared to be very similar in size and ecology, it is a much larger owl, weighting around 1.9 kg (up to and we can assume that diet and foraging behavior are 4.2 kg), almost twice as heavy as South American horned also similar. owls (ca. 1.2 kg; Jaksic & Marti 1984, König & Weick The Magellanic and Great Horned ow ls are generalist 2008). There are also a few recor ds of carnivore predation predators, which prey mainly upon small mammals by the Great Horned Owl in the USA, including skunks: (rodents, lagomorphs and marsupials) (Donázar et al. 1) Long-tailed Weasel (Mustela frenata; 178 g); 2) Eastern- 1997, Teta et al. 2001, Cromrich et al. 2002, Tomazzoni spotted Skunk (Spilogales putorius; 727 g); 3) Red Fox et al.2004, Nabte et al. 2006, Bó et al. 2007, Formoso et (Vulpes vulpes; 8 kg), and 4) American Hog-nosed Skunk al. 2012). The mean weight of the prey varies accor ding (Conepatus leuconotus; 1.1 – 4.5 kg) (Jaksic & Marti 1984, to region, but is usually between 30.6 – 189.1g (Formoso Dragoo & Sheffield 2009). In South A merica, as far as we et al. 2012 and references therein). The Molina’s Hog- know, the only record of carnivore predation by a horned nosed Skunk, even a juvenile one, is an unusually large owl is Galictis cuja in Argentina (Massoia et al. 1993 prey to Horned owls. It is a medium-sized carnivore, apud Teta et al. 2008), and a Molina’s Hog-nosed Skunk weighting about 1.62 kg (females) and 2.32 kg (males) (Conepatus chinga) in South Brazil (unpublished record; in south Brazil (Kasper 2011). Despite the horned owls’ F. Peters in litt.). The horned ow l also preys upon other, wide range of prey sizes, most of its preys weight less than diurnal raptors (e.g. Milvago chimango, Falco sparverius, 300 g (Donázar et al. 1997, Cromrich et al. 2002, Nabte Rostrhamus sociabilis) (Donázar et al. 1997, Teta et al. et al. 2006). Even their largest preys, the introduced 2001, Tomazzoni et al. 2004). European Hares (Lepus europeus; 2-7 kg), are usually Molina’s Hog-nosed Skunk is prey to other large juveniles weighing less than 1 kg (Donázar et al. 1997, raptors, like the Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle (G. Teta et al. 2001, Nabte et al. 2006). melanoleucus) (Hiraldo et al. 1995) and the Crowned Predation of carnivores by Bubo owls are common in Eagle (Buteogallus coronatus) (Sarasola et al. 2010), as well Europe, where the larger Eurasian Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo) as mammal carnivores such as the Puma (Puma concolor) Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, 23(4), 2015 The Molina’s Hog-nosed Skunk as prey of Great Horned Owl: predation or opportunist scavenging? Juan Anza and Felipe Zilio Bennett, J. R. & Bloom, P. H. 2005. Home range and habitat use (Pacheco et al. 2004). Molina’s Hog-nosed Skunk is by Great Horned owls (Bubo virginianus) in southern California. relatively common at EEA/UFRGS (G. Iob in litt.) and, Journal of Raptor Research, 39: 119-126. by the characteristics of our record, we assume that it Bó, M. S.; Baladrón, A. V. & Bionti, L. M. 2007. Ecología trófica was an event of predation that took place in the 30 min de Falconiformes y Strigiformes: tiempo de síntesis. Hornero, 22 interval between the first and second o bservations. Our (2): 97-115. Cromrich, L. A.; Holt, D. W. & Shawne, M. L. 2002. Trophic assumption is based on the time elapsed between our niche of North American Great Horned Owls. Journal of Raptor two observations (before and after the owl have caught Research, 36: 58-60. the skunk), the abundance of skunks in the area (G. Iob Donázar, J. A.; Travaini, A.; Ceballos, O.; Delibes, M. & Hiraldo, in litt.) and the rarity of scavenging behavior in owls F. 1997. Food habits of the Great Horned Owl in northwestern Argentine Patagonia: The role of introduced lagomorphs. Journal (Smallwood et al. 2010, Allen & Taylor 2013). of Raptor Research, 31: 364-369. However, we cannot discard the possibility of a Dragoo, J. & Sheffield, S. R. 2009. Conepatus leuconotus (Carnivora: scavenging event. Carcasses consumption by horned owls Mephitidae). Mammalian Species, 827: 1-8. is rather uncommon, being reported by Smallwood et al. Formoso, A. E.; Teta, P. & Cheli, G. 2012. Food habits of the Magellanic Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus magellanicus) at (2010) only once during a carcass removal experiment. We Southernmost Patagonia, Argentina. Journal of Raptor Research, cannot confirm t hat the Great Horned Owl preyed on the 46: 401-406. skunk, because we did not witness the event of predation. Hiraldo, F.; Donázar, J. A.; Ceballos, O.; Travaini, A.; Bustamante, Also, the BR290, an intense traffic road, is around 1.5 km J. & Funes, M. 1995. Breeding biology of a Grey Eagle-Buzzard away from the place where the record occurred and could population. Wilson Bulletin, 107: 675-685. Jaksic, F. M. & Marti, C. D. 1984. Comparative food habits of Bubo be a hunting site of this owl (Great Horned Owl home owls in Mediterranean-type ecosystems. Condor, 86: 288-296. range = 163 to 460 ha; Bennett & Bloom 2005). Kasper, C. B. 2011. Ecologia e história natural do Zorrilho (Conepatus In view of these different scenarios, we suggest two chinga) no sul do Brasil. Ph.D. Dissertation. Porto Alegre: Programa possibilities: 1) the predation of Molina’s Hog-nosed de Pós-graduação em Biologia Animal, UFRGS. Skunk as an alternative prey for the Great Horned Owl König, C. & Weick, F. 2008. Owls of the world, 2nd ed. London, UK: Christopher Helm. and as an opportunistic kill; 2) a scavenging behavior by Motta-Junior, J. C.; Braga, A. C. R. & Granzinolli, M. A. Great Horned Owl. The first scenario would be a case M. In press. Owls of Brazil. In: Enríquez, P. (Ed). Los búhos of opportunistic predation of an unusual prey, as an neotropicales: diversidad y conservación. Mexico: ECOSUR, alternative prey when the main preys are scarce (Sergio CONABIO. Nabte, M. J.; Saba, S. L. & Padiñas, U. F. J. 2006. Dieta del Búho & Hiraldo 2008). The second scenario would represent Magallánico (Bubo magellanicus) en el Desierto de Monte y La a risky strategy for feeding, since road kills are one of Patagonia Argentina. Ornitologia Neotropical, 17: 27-38. the major threats to owls (Motta-Junior et al. in press). Pacheco, L. F.; Lucero, A. & Villca, M. 2004. Dieta del puma (Puma In both cases, further study of horned owls’ diet, with concolor) en el Parque Nacional Sajama Bolivia y su conflicto con both sample (pellets or gut contents) and observational la ganadería. Ecología en Bolivia, 39 (1): 75-83. Sarasola, J. H.; Santillán, M. A. & Galmez, M. A. 2010. Crowned analyses, is necessary to better understand the extent eagles rarely prey on livestock in central Argentina: persecution is to which the Great Horned Owl preys upon skunks in not justified. En dangered Species Research, 11: 207-213. South America. Sergio, F. & Hiraldo, F. 2008. Intraguild predation in raptor assemblages: a review. Ibis, 150 (suppl. 1): 132-145 Smallwood, K. S.; Bell, D. A.; Snyder, S. A. & DiDonato, J.E. 2010. Novel scavenger removal trials increase wind turbine– ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS caused avian fatality estimates. Journal of Wildlife Management, 74: 1089-1097. We would like to thank Carlos B. Kasper, Felipe Peters, Teta, P; Panti, C.; Andrade, A. & Perez, A. 2001. Amplitud y Glayson A. Bencke, Graziela Iob, José C. Motta-Junior composicion de la dieta de Bubo virginianus (Aves, Strigiformes, Strigidae) em La Patagonia Noroccidental Argentina. Boletín de la and Tatiane C. Trigo for sharing their knowledge and Sociedad de Biología de Concepción, 72: 131-138. unpublished information and bibliography. We also thank Teta, P.; Prevosti, F. J. & Trejo, A. 2008. Raptor predation and Carlos B. Kasper for his critical review of this note’s first new locality records for the poorly known Patagonian Weasel draft and the two referees for their valuable comments. (Lyncodon patagonicus) (Carnivora: Mustelidae). Mammalian Biology, 73: 238-240. The English Language was reviewed and improved by Tomazzoni, A. C.; Pedó, E. & Hartz, S. M. 2004. Food habits of Leonardo Zilio. Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) in the breeding season in Lami Biological Reserve, southern Brazil. Ornitologia Neotropical, 15: 279-182. REFERENCES Allen, M. L. & Taylor, A. P. 2013. First record of scavenging by a Western Screech-owl (Megascops kennicottii). Wilson Journal of Ornitholog y, 125: 417-419. Associate Editor: Marcos Pérsio Dantas Santos Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, 23(4), 2015
Ornithology Research – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 1, 2015
Keywords: Bubo virginianus; Brazil; Conepatus chinga; raptor; South America
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