ABSTRACT

A total of 783 dietary items from a Sooty Owl Tyto tenebricosa tenebricosa with suspected partial xanthochromism (yellow plumage colouration) was identified from Yarrangobilly Caves, NSW. Observations of the owl at the cave and collection of feathers suggest that prey items accumulated between 2011 and 2018. A total of 12 mammal species was detected in the diet, with the Bush Rat Rattus fuscipes, Agile Antechinus Antechinus agilis, Sugar Glider Petaurus breviceps and Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus dominating. The diet also included three threatened species, the Eastern Pygmy Possum Cercartetus nanus, Smoky Mouse Pseudomys fumeus and Broad-toothed Rat Mastacomys fuscus. The diversity of prey identified in the diet contrasts markedly with that found in studies of subfossil deposits from the area, supporting evidence of extensive mammal declines since European settlement.

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