A Study of the Little Owl (Athene noctua) in New Zealand. By B. J. Marples. Trans. R. Soc. of New Zealand, Vol. 72, Part 3, pages 237-252, December, 1942 . M R . MARPLES undertook, in 1938, to make a thorough investigation of t h e Little Owl from every possible aspect and he read his conclusions before t h e Otago Branch of t h e Royal Society in December. 1942. This species of owl had been introduced into the South Island in successive years between 1906 and 1911. The object of the importation was to keep down, if possible, the numbers of other introduced birds. The Little Owl increased and spread and in the opinion of some people it became a menace to t h e native birds. An investigation of its food habits would naturally verify or refute this accusation if made on a large enough scale. Accordingly the stomach contents of 242 Little Owls were subjected t o a microscopic examination. I t was found t h a t caterpillars, beetles and other invertebrates preponderated enormously in the food of the species. Twenty-two stomachs contained bird remains. Of these only one was possibly a native, namely the Fantail (Rhipidura fuliginosa). The rest were introduced Passerines. In 17 nests and pellets 82 birds were found, of which one, the White Eye (Zosterops halmaturina) is native. 7 recorded " larks or pipits " may have been the introduced Alauda arvensis or the native Anthus novaseelandiae. The remaining 74
Volume: 
Issue 3
Display Image: 

Stay at the forefront of British birding by taking out a subscription to British Birds.

Subscribe Now