Diet and Foraging Behavior of Nesting Roadside Hawks inPete

Roadside Hawk (Buteo magnirostris) Science Article 1


In 1993 and 1994, we collected dataon the diet and foraging behavior of Roadside Hawks(Buteo magnirostris) in primary tropical forest withslash-and-burn farming landscape nearby. We identified140 prey items brought to nests: 90 in the farminglandscape and 50 in the forest. Reptiles (57.1%, mostlylizards) and amphibians (24.3%) were the main preytypes delivered to nestlings in both habitats, but sizeand type of prey differed between nests in the twohabitats. Relatively more amphibians and reptiles weredelivered to slash-and-burn nests and more mammalsand insects to forest nests. In 40 of 44 prey captureattempts, Roadside Hawks utilized the typical Buteotechnique, searching for prey from a perch and attackingonce prey was sighted. In addition, two aerial attackswere directed at a flying and at a perched bird,and hawks walking on the ground twice captured beetles.Of 44 capture attempts, 84% were successful. Inthe forest, half of 32 attacks were launched fromperches protruding above vegetation along a road orin clearings; the other half were launched from perchesbeneath the forest canopy. These hawks often took advantageof special hunting opportunities: attendingarmy-ant swarms, taking many frogs immediately afterrain showers, and catching prey fleeing from fires.

Theresa Panasci and David Whitacre, Wilson Bull., 112(4), 2000, pp. 555-558

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