Habitat use and diet of the Eurasian scops owl Otus scops in the beeding and wintering periods in Central Italy

Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.13157/arla.61.2.2014.393

Authors: Mattia PANZERI, Mattia MENCHETTI and Emiliano MORI

E-mail: moriemiliano@tiscali.it

Published: Volume 61.2, December 2014. Pages 393-399.

Language: English


The Eurasian scops owl is one of the least known European nocturnal raptors. The species is declining throughout its distributional range, thus giving concern for its conservation status. We investigated seasonal shifts in its habitat use and diet in central Italy, where scops owl is a resident species in Central Tuscany. The owls used grasslands and human settlements during the breeding period, while woodlands were mainly used during the winter. The main prey species in the diet during the warm period were grasshoppers (Orthoptera, Tettigoniidae), whereas shrews (Soricomorpha) constituted the main prey during the winter. Thus, protecting extensive grassland would not suffice to conserve resident populations of Eurasian scops owls and preservation of mature deciduous woodlands with trunk cavities is also recommended.

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