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Diet Composition of a Pair of Tyto furcata pratincola (American Barn Owl) in an Urban Park and Natural Area Fragment in South Florida

Nashaly N. Cortés-Viruet1, Melquisedec Gamba-Rios2, and Frank N. Ridgley3,*

1Departamento Ciencias Agrícolas de Industrias Pecuarias, Universidad de Puerto Rico-Mayagüez, PR-108, Mayagüez, PR 00682. 2Endangered Species Interventions Department, Bat Conservation International, 500 N Capital of Texas Hwy #1, Austin, TX 78746. 3Conservation and Research Department, Zoo Miami, 12400 SW 152nd Street, Miami, FL 33177. *Corresponding author.

Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 22, Issue 1 (2023): 21–27

Tyto furcata pratincola (American Barn Owl) is a widespread bird of prey with great adaptability that can be found in partially urbanized areas. We examined the prey composition of a pair of American Barn Owls through dissection and analysis of a subset of cast pellets found at a roost site in an urban park in South Florida by comparing hair, bone, and teeth to online identification guides and museum specimens. The main identified prey species were rodents, with Sigmodon hispidus (Hispid Cotton Rat) accounting for 63.0% of all prey identified. Within the home range of these owls were 9 known colonies of endangered and common species of bats, but no evidence of depredation was found in the pellet analysis. Other small mammals, reptiles, and invertebrates made up the remainder of the diet, which is consistent with other similar studies in more natural settings.

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