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GOMEZ, M. Daniela; FONTANARROSA, Gabriela; ORTIZ, Pablo E  and  JAYAT, J. Pablo. Pequeños mamíferos predados por la Lechuza de Campanario (Tyto alba) en la ecorregión del Chaco Seco en el noroeste argentino. Hornero [online]. 2012, vol.27, n.2, pp.127-135. ISSN 0073-3407.

Small mammals predated by the common Barn-owl (Tyto alba) in the Chaco Seco ecoregion in northwestern Argentina. Trophic habits of the Common Barn-Owl (Tyto alba) have been widely studied in Argentina, mainly in the center and south of the country. However, in the north-western region these studies are scarce. We studied the diet of this raptor by analyzing pellets collected in six localities of the Chaco Seco ecoregion. Cranial remains were taxonomically determined, and the minimal number of individuals, relative frequency and percent biomass of each prey item were calculated. Moreover, we calculated food-niche breadth and standardized food-niche breadth, the geometric mean of prey weight, and the diversity. We obtained 1231 prey items, mainly of the genus Calomys, which was dominant in five of the six localities. Number of individuals varied among 83-508 and at all localities, two species (Calomys cf. C. venustus/ fecundus and Calomys cf. C. laucha/musculinus) contributed more than 50% of the consumed biomass. Standardized food-niche breadth varied between 0.111-0.661. Geometric mean of prey weight was lower than the established value for the Neotropical Region. The abundance of Calomys spp. in the diet was positively related to the degree of transformation of natural lands into agroecosystems, whereas species diversity was negatively related. These results contribute with novel data for the Chaco Seco ecoregion in northwestern Argentina, supporting the patterns found for the Common Barn-Owl in other regions of the country.

Keywords : Argentina; Chaco Seco; Diet; Environmental heterogeneity; Food-niche breadth; Tyto alba.

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