This article was publlished in the Nos Oiseaux journal in September 2019.
Abstract: Eurasian Eagle-owl Bubo bubo predating Greater Flamingos Phoenicopterus roseus in the Camargue (France), discussion concerning Eagle-owl food resources.
Since April 2017, several night-time disturbances occurred in the Flamingo breeding colony at the Fangassier lake in the Camargue (France). With 11 000 pairs, little by little the colony was abandoned finally disappearing by the beginning of May. Once again in 2018 the colony was abandoned in May. The disturbances were caused by at least one Eagle-owl and 19 cases of predation of adult Flamingos were observed.
In parallel with this 436 Eagle-owl prey items were identified between 1994 and 2018 from about fifteen different sites in the Camargue. The prey items were made up of 240 mammals (52,6 % of total prey), 11 species, 195 birds (47,3 %) 39 species, and one insect. Most frequently caught were Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus (32,6 % numerically, 53,4 % in biomass) and the Brown Rat Rattus norvegicus (12,4 % numerically, 13,9 % biomass).
These two species made up more than 40 % of the prey found in the pellets. Water birds made up nearly 22,9 % of the identifiable prey (11,2 % biomass), Little Egret Egretta garzetta was the principal prey item. Greater Flamingo was very profitable in terms of biomass for Eagle-owl but only at Fangassier where the predator took advantage of its vulnerability on dry land during reproduction. The displacement of the flamingos to the étang du Roi in the salt pans at Aigues-Mortes following the disturbance was considered to be an encouraging response by the Flamingos to this additional disturbance. (Translation : M. Bowman)
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