Food of the goshawk Accipiter gentilis during breeding season in southern Bavaria Nahrungswahl sudbayerischer Habichte Accipiter gentilis wahrend der Brutzeit
Bezzel, E.; Rust, R.; Kechele, W.
Ornithologischer Anzeiger 36(1): 19-30
From 1969 to 1996, in three study areas of southern Bavaria totalling 6690 km-2 items of 13 342 prey animals were collected in territories of Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) during breeding season from the time of courtship behaviour in late winter to the period of fledglings in the territories. 16 mammal, 77 bird, and 1 fish species could be identified, additionally 2 mammal and 7 bird species from captivity. However, only few species form the bulk of the list. The highest percentages were reached by thrushes (Turdus) and doves/pigeons. Among Corvids mainly Jays (Garrulus glandarius) and Carrion Crows (Corvus corone), but remarkably few Magpies (Pica pica) were taken. Among mammals only Squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) could be found in considerable numbers. Between the three study areas in different landscapes from the river Danube to the northern margin of the Alps the main composition of prey was very similar. Differences were obvious in the percentages of thrushes and pigeons. These and some minor differences in abundance of several prey animals could be found constantly over decades though there were marked annual fluctuations. The abundance of some species changed over the years. A remarkable decline of Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris) in the prey within last years seems to correspond with field experiences. Generally, the findings meet the results from other areas in Central Europe. The low numbers of Partridge (Perdix perdix), Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), and Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) can be explained by the geographical and ecological situation. The Goshawks (mainly males during breeding season) apparently preferred woodland as hunting grounds indicated by rather low abundance of animals from open areas in their prey For regional and geographical comparisons of lists of prey animals only samples collected in large scale of time and space seem to be representative.