Hunter sparrows: a predation record of a House Sparrow on Kentish Plover nestlings



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Title: Hunter sparrows: a predation record of a House Sparrow on Kentish Plover nestlings
Authors: Quesada, Javier
Pàmies, Enric
Oliver, Carles
MacGregor-Fors, Ian
Consorci del Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona
Issue Date: Dec-2022
Keywords: Ocells
Nius d'ocells
Predació (Biologia)
Spatial coverage: Catalunya
Península Ibèrica
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Extent: 6 p.
Description: Many bird species with behavioural plasticity innovate when searching for alternative trophic resources, mainly during periods of energetic constraints, when colonizing new habitats, or during the breeding season when the demand for protein is higher. For example, the consumption of meat by non-carnivorous bird species has been anecdotally documented, so that non-carnivorous passerine species may prey on other bird species in periods of high demand for protein. In this case, we report the predation of a Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus nestling by a House Sparrow Passer domesticus. We observed this event during the 2021 breeding season at a Kentish Plover breeding site in Altafulla (Catalonia, Spain). We observed an attack by at least one male House Sparrow on two K entish Plover nestlings from the same nest, of which only one attack was successful. The predation on the second nestling was repelled by its parents. The House Sparrow has a wide dietary range and is known to be capable of killing other birds and ingesting meat. The witnessed attack seemed to be performed by a single male House Sparrow, although another male could have been involved. This observation highlights the flexibility of the House Sparrow when acquiring dietary resources and underlines the broad food spectrum of this generalist species.
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