The short-eared owl (Asio flammeus), which lives in open wetland habitats, has been threatened and become endangered in South Korea due to the destruction and loss of its habitats. However, the diet of the short-eared owl remains to be studied. The prey of the short-eared owl was monitored using molecular methods as an alternative tool. A total of 121 pellets of the species were collected in the Dalsung wetland. Of these pellets, about 30% (n = 33) were selected for prey identification in 2002 (n = 12), 2003 (n = 6) and 2006 (n = 15). Two hundred and thirty-two bone fragments were successfully analyzed and 9 prey species were detected. In an expanded analysis, excluding 4 pellets used for the preliminary analysis, small mammals constituted the highest percentage (89.1%): 47.6% Eurasian field mouse (Apodemus agrarius); 27.2% European harvest mouse (Micromys minutus); 6.1% Japanese wild house mouse (Mus musculus); 5.4% Asian lesser white-toothed shrew (Crocidura shantungensis); and 2.7% Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus). Not only small mammals, but birds and amphibians were also identified: 4.1% Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica); 3.4% vinous-throated parrotbill (Paradoxornis webbianus); 0.7% eastern turtle dove (Streptopelia orientalis); and 2.7% Kori salamander (Hynobius yangi). This result would be valuable in understanding the feeding ecology of the short-eared owl in its wetland habitats.
- Apodemus agrarius
- Owl pellet