Official journal of the Netherlands Ornithologists' Union
|Cresswell W. (1995) Selection of avian prey by wintering Sparrowhawks Accipiter nisus in Southern Scotland. ARDEA 83 (2): 381-389
|Sparrowhawks Accipiter nisus were studied hunting a wide range of avian species during three winters on a small Scottish estuary to determine which species were the most vulnerable to Sparrowhawk predation. Selection of avian prey was studied by comparing the proportions of different species among prey items found, with their proportions in the bird population. Certain prey species were more vulnerable to Sparrowhawk predation: the relative vulnerability of a species remained reasonably consistent between winters. Sparrowhawks preferentially selected prey of weight 51-150 g, with the most favoured weight of prey being 101-150 g. There was a significant positive correlation between vulnerability to predation and body weight of a prey species up to 150 g. Mean weight of prey taken did not vary between winters. Relative conspicuousness of a prey species was apparently not an important factor in determining vulnerability.