Analysis of regurgitated pellets of Spotted Owlet Athene brama (Temminck, 1821) (Aves: Strigiformes: Strigidae) from Punjab, India

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Renuka Malhotra
Neena Singla


The present study was conducted to determine the diet of Spotted Owlet Athene brama.  Analysis of 200 regurgitated pellets collected from eight different locations in Punjab (India) determined average weight, length, breadth and thickness to be 1.0g, 27.0mm, 16.0mm and 12.0mm, respectively.  Remains of a total 433 individual prey were found in these pellets.  Diet of Spotted Owlet consisted of both vertebrates (45.7%) and invertebrates (54.3%).  Among vertebrates, mice (45.0%) were predominant, followed by frogs (0.5%) and birds (0.2%). Among invertebrates, diet mainly consisted of insects (53.8%) followed by molluscs (0.5%).  Insects preyed upon by Spotted Owlet were predominantly of orders Coleoptera (34.9%), followed by Orthoptera (10.2%), Dermaptera (7.9%) and some unidentified orders (0.9%).  The remnants of insects and molluscs in the pellets comprised of wings, legs, head, shells etc.  The average number of mice consumed per pellet was 1.32, with a maximum capacity of consuming up to five mice per night. 


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Author Biographies

Renuka Malhotra, Department of Zoology, Punjab Agricultural University, Ferozepur Road, Ludhiana, Punjab 141004, India

Ms. Renuka Malhotra completed her Master’s Programme from Department of Zoology, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, Punjab and has recently joined as Assistant Professor, Khalsa College for Women, Ludhiana, Punjab.

Neena Singla, Department of Zoology, Punjab Agricultural University, Ferozepur Road, Ludhiana, Punjab 141004, India

Dr. Neena Singla is serving as Senior Zoologist (Rodents) in the Department of Zoology, PAU, Ludhiana, Punjab. She has more than 20 years experience in research, teaching and Extension. She is Project Incharge, All India Network Project on Vertebrate Pest Management (Rodent Control) at PAU, Ludhiana. Her major emphasis is on development of alternative, safe and environment friendly techniques for integrated rodent pest management. 


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