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Red-tailed hawk dietary overlap with northern goshawks on the Kaibab Plateau, AZ

Gatto, Angela E.; Grubb, Teryl G.; Chambers, Carol L. 2006. Red-tailed hawk dietary overlap with northern goshawks on the Kaibab Plateau, AZ. Journal of Raptor Research 39(4):439-444.

We determined food habits of Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) for comparison with published information for Northern Goshawks (Accipiter gentilis) to evaluate potential competition on the Kaibab Plateau, Arizona. We collected prey remains and pellets from 42 Red-tailed Hawk nests at the end of the nesting season between August-October 1998-2001, and opportunistically from below nest trees during site visits, May-July 2000-01. We identified 478 prey items, including 17 mammal, 7 bird, and 2 reptile species. Prey species frequency did not vary among years (P = 0.3), across habitat types (P = 0.8), or by collection technique (P = 0.4). Annual food niche breadth for Red-tailed Hawks averaged 0.57. Published mean niche breadth for Northern Goshawks was 0.32, supporting that Redtailed Hawks were feeding generalists, while Northern Goshawks were more specialized. However, 48% of Red-tailed Hawk diet on the Kaibab Plateau consisted of species comprising a major portion of the documented diet of Northern Goshawks, including Nuttall's cottontail (Sylvilaps nuttallii), golden-mantled ground squirrel (Spermophilus lateralis lateralis), rock squirrel (S. variegates grammums) , and Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus). Because raptor communities with high dietary overlap and lack of prey partitioning show food-limited nesting success, greater agnonistic behavior, and territoriality, Red-tailed Hawks could be negatively affecting Northern Goshawks on the Kaibab Plateau.

Keywords: Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis, Northern Goshawk, Accipiter gentilis, competition, diet, food habits, food niche breadth, foraging

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Title: RMRS Other Publications: Red-tailed hawk dietary overlap with northern goshawks on the Kaibab Plateau, AZ
Electronic Publish Date: January 19, 2007
Last Update:
January 19, 2007

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