Abstract

The Crested Eagle (Morphnus guianensis) is the second largest Brazilian forest eagle. Crested Eagles are distributed from southeastern Mexico to southern Brazil, northern Argentina, and Paraguay; however, the species is one of the least-studied Neotropical raptors. Our objective was to determine diet and feeding strategies for Crested Eagles in the Brazilian Amazon. We recorded Crested Eagle diet at four nests from 2010–2012 through a combination of direct observations from the ground, remote photographs (camera-traps), and pellets and prey remains collected in and under the nests. We identified a total of 79 prey individuals, composed of 21 different prey species. We found that Crested Eagles fed mainly on medium-sized rodents, and medium-sized to large mammals. Prey were mainly nocturnal (70%), including mostly scansorial, cavity-dwelling marsupials and rodents. Fewer prey were diurnal (20%) and these were typified by arboreal, gregarious mammals (monkeys); rare prey included one owl (Strigidae) and one porcupine (Coendou sp.). We suggest that this may indicate a diet not specialized on a particular prey species or group, but rather focused on specific prey behaviors or microhabitats.

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