eWestern Birds

The Quarterly Journal of Western Field Ornithologists

Vol. 38, No. 4
December 2007
Western Field Ornithologists

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Insects Predominate in Peregrine Falcon Predation Attempts in Arizona
David H. Ellis, Charles T. LaRue, James K. Fackler, and R. Wayne Nelson

ABSTRACT: We compare two methods of collecting data on food habits (observations of predation attempts [n = 131] and analysis of prey remains at eyries [n = 809]) for Peregrine Falcons (Falco peregrinus) in Arizona. White-throated Swifts (Aeronautes saxatalis) were pursued in at least 38% of the predation attempts on birds but constituted 22% of the avian diet (by number) from prey remains. Insects constituted 1% of prey remains from eyries but were targets in 69% of observed attacks on prey. Insects, primarily cicadas (Cicadidae), were especially important numerically to breeding females guarding their nest cliffs. These observations suggest that insects may be much more important than formerly supposed in the Peregrine Falcon’s diet in other regions when and where large insects are aloft.

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