Diet composition and foraging success in generalist predators: Are specialist individuals better foragers?

Julien Terraube, David Guixé, Beatriz Arroyo

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikelVetenskapligPeer review


Factors affecting individual diet specialization in generalist populations and the relationship between diet and foraging success remain poorly studied, particularly in terrestrial wide-ranging predators. We studied whether individual variations in diet in Montagu's harrier males (determined through a combination of direct foraging observations and pellet analysis) were associated with patterns of foraging habitat selection and foraging success of 12 radiotracked males during the breeding period. We found important differences in diet composition and breadth between individuals. Diet diversity was negatively related to hunting success: the most efficient individuals in terms of hunting success had the most specialized diet. This study also suggests an important role of individual foraging habitat selection in explaining individual diet, as the proportion of different prey types in the diet was associated with habitat composition within the home range, with higher proportion of those habitats that held higher abundances of their more frequent prey. This study thus provides evidence of individual diet specialization having a knock-on effect on foraging efficiency in a wide-ranging raptor and highlights the role of individual behaviour as a driving force of intra-population niche variation
TidskriftBasic and Applied Ecology
Sidor (från-till)616-624
Antal sidor9
StatusPublicerad - 30 nov. 2014
Externt publiceradJa
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad


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