Movement ecology, breeding, diet, and roosting behavior of barn owls (Tyto alba) in a transboundary conflict region

Gabriel Rozman, Ido Izhaki, Alexandre Roulin, Motti Charter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Transboundary frontiers often contain wildlife habitats that are fractured by geopolitical borders, which could have adverse effects on the wildlife that inhabit those areas. We examined the movement, breeding, roosting, and diet of 15 GPS-tagged barn owls (Tyto alba) along the Israeli-Jordanian and Israeli-Palestinian Authority borders. Our results showed that 80% of the barn owls hunted across the border. On average, the owls engaged in 5.4 hunting trips per night, 16% of which were cross-border excursions, and they crossed the borders as frequently as expected randomly, highlighting the importance of wildlife protection on all sides. Hunting movement, rather than cross-border activity, had an effect on the annual reproductive success and diet composition. Specifically, female owls that spent more time at the nest and engaged in longer distance hunting trips had higher reproductive success. Eighty percent of the females roosted outside of the nest box at a median distance of 908 m (range = 199–4112 m). Only 13.3% of the owls (2/15 owls) roosted across the border. These results increase our understanding of the movement, breeding, and roosting behavior of a non-migratory avian raptor. However, a serious lack of cooperation and communication between bordering countries hampers our ability to understand the full effects of differing environmental policies on a species that knows no borders.

Original languageEnglish
Article number26
JournalRegional Environmental Change
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 27 Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the Hoopoe Foundation led by Prof. Yossi Leshem for funding the GPS tags. Part of the study was funded by the Addax & Oryx Foundation (Switzerland) and the Israel Ministry of Science.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH, DE part of Springer Nature.

Keywords

  • GPS wildlife tracking
  • Movement ecology
  • Reproductive success
  • Roosting behavior
  • Transboundary conflict zones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change

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