The relationship between intra–guild diet overlap and breeding in owls in Israel

Motti Charter, Ido Izhaki, Alexandre Roulin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Even though intra-guild predators frequently prey on the same species, it is unclear whether diet overlap between two predators is a source of interspecific competition or whether predators simply use the same abundant prey resource. We measured the extent to which the diets of barn owls (Tyto alba) and long-eared owls (Asio otus) in Israel overlap and examined whether yearly differences in diet overlap correlate with barn owl breeding success. Pianka’s index of niche overlap was positively related to barn owl population size but not to its breeding success. The number of breeding barn owls was higher when long-eared owls consumed more rodents, suggesting that diet overlap most likely increased when rodents became more abundant. Therefore, in Israel, when these two owl species prey more often on rodents, their diets are more similar and interspecific competition is reduced. Unlike sympatric populations in Europe, in years when rodents are less abundant in Israel long-eared owls switch to hunting alternative prey (e.g., birds), perhaps to avoid competition with barn owls.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-403
Number of pages7
JournalPopulation Ecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, The Society of Population Ecology and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature.


  • Asio otus
  • Breeding success
  • Diet overlap
  • Interspecific competition
  • Relative and fundamental niche
  • Tyto alba

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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