Diet and prey selection of urban-dwelling Peregrine Falcons in southwest England

Published on 01 February 2008 in Uncategorized

ABSTRACT Despite extensive research on city-dwelling Peregrine Falcons Falco peregrinus in mainland Europe and other parts of the world, little has been undertaken and published in the UK. We analysed the diet of Peregrines in three cities in southwest England ­ Bristol, Bath and Exeter ­ between 1998 and 2007.The wide range of prey species taken included many species associated with a variety of non-urban habitats. Some prey species appear to be hunted at night, while on migration. This paper summarises the diet of Peregrines in urban areas and reviews their night-time hunting behaviour.he diet of Peregrine Falcons Falco peregrinus in the UK is best known from the analysis of prey remains collected from nest-sites in habitats such as sea cliffs, moorland, upland crags and lowland quarries (Ratcliffe 1993), but little has been published on the diet of Peregrines in urban areas. The results of the most recent national survey showed that about 4% of the UK’s breeding Peregrines are found in towns and cities throughout the year, along with an increasing number of nonbreeding and wintering individuals (Dixon 2000; Crick et al. 2003). Until recently, information about their diet has been fragmented, and the assumption has been that they feed predominantly on urban species, especially Feral Pigeons Columba livia (Ratcliffe 1993; Tully 1997). However, the accessibility of some urban nest-sites allows comprehensive samples of prey debris to be obtained throughout the year and in this paper we describe the prey remains collected from three cities in southwest England over

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