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Prey selectivity by crowned hawk-eagles on monkeys in the Kibale Forest, Uganda


Results are presented from a 3.25-year study of a nesting pair of crowned hawk-eagles and an 18-year study of a primate community in the Kibale Forest, Uganda. The proportional composition of the living population of prey species was compared with that of eagle prey and animals dying from other causes. Monkeys were the predominant pry (83.7%). They also dominated the medium-to large-sized mammalian carcasses dying from other causes (88.9%). The eagles selected prey according to species, age, and sex. Selectivity by age and sex differed between prey species. Among red colobus monkeys, the eagles selected young juveniles and infants, but in four other monkey species they selected adult males. Eagle prey selectivity by species generally supports the hypothesis that polyspecific associations among the monkeys are effective deterrents against predation. The prey/predator ratio for the Kibale eagles was much higher, but the annual offtake of prey by the eagles was much lower than that of tropical felids. Mortality due to causes other than eagles was greater than expected in red colobus and less in redtails, but not significantly different from expected or equivocal in the other three monkey species. Other cause of mortality affected adult male and infant red colobus more than expected. Among the other four monkey species, significantly more adult males and fewer adult females died from these other causes than expected. Eagle predation had a major impact on the populations of adult males of both black and white colobus and blue monkeys and on both adult male and female mangabeys. The selectivity appeared to contribute significantly to the differential adult sex ratio in four monkey species, but not in red colobus. In contrast, mortality incurred during fighting among adult males probably accounted for the differential adult sex ratio in red colobus.

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Struhsaker, T.T., Leakey, M. Prey selectivity by crowned hawk-eagles on monkeys in the Kibale Forest, Uganda. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 26, 435–443 (1990).

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  • Adult Male
  • Adult Female
  • Prey Species
  • Felid
  • Monkey Species