Relationship between diet and reproductive success in the Israeli barn owl

M. Charter*, I. Izhaki, Y. Leshem, K. Meyrom, A. Roulin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The effect of diet on barn owl (Tyto alba) breeding biology has been well studied in the temperate regions but not in the more arid Middle East. In temperate regions, barn owls are darker colored and mainly prey upon Cricetidae rodents, whereas in arid regions, they are lighter colored and prey to a larger degree upon Muridae rodents. In this study we analyzed the diet and breeding success of 261 barn owl pairs nesting in Israel. The reproductive success of barn owls declined from March to August, and fledged more young when they consumed a larger proportion of social voles (Microtus socialis guentheri). Although the diet of the lighter colored barn owls in Israel comprises more Muridae than that of the darker morphs in temperate regions, in both regions the number of barn owl young increases with an increased proportion of voles in the diet.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-63
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Arid Environments
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2015


FundersFunder number
Addax & Oryx Foundation
Israel Hoopoe Foundation , Society for the Protection of Nature Israel
Israel Ministry of Agriculture , Israeli Ministry of Environmental Protection
Schweizerischer Nationalfonds zur Förderung der Wissenschaftlichen Forschung3100AO_120517
University of Haifa


    • Breeding biology
    • Cricetidae
    • Mediterranean climate
    • Muridae
    • Predator-prey interactions
    • Tyto alba
    • Voles


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