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Factors affecting survival in Mediterranean populations of the Eurasian eagle owl

AuthorsLeón-Ortega, Mario; Delgado, María del Mar ; Martínez, José Enrique; Penteriani, Vincenzo ; Calvo, José F.
KeywordsHome range
Known-fate model
Sex-biased mortality
Human-induced mortality
Issue Date2016
CitationEuropean Journal of Wildlife Research 62: 643- 651 (2016)
AbstractThe survival rate is a key parameter for population management and the monitoring of populations. Thus, an analysis of survival rate variations and the factors influencing the same is essential for understanding population dynamics. Here, we study the factors determining the survival and the causes of mortality of the Eurasian eagle owl (Bubo bubo) in two Spanish Mediterranean populations (Murcia and Seville) where the species has a high population density and breeding success; yet its survival rates and the factors that affect them are unknown. Between 2003 and 2010, 63 breeding owls were captured and radio-tracked. Three monthly (quarterly) survival rates were estimated using known-fate models in the program MARK. The mean overall annual survival rate was 0.776 (95 % CI: 0.677, 0.875). We observed survival differences between sexes, and between the breeding and non-breeding periods, although no overwhelming support was found for any particular model. We concluded that (i) females have a lower survival rate than males, probably due to their larger home ranges, which increase the risk of mortality; (ii) the survival rates of both sexes were lower during the non-breeding period; and (iii) the causes of mortality differed significantly between the two populations, gunshot being the main cause in Seville and electrocution in Murcia.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1007/s10344-016-1036-7
issn: 1612-4642
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