Supplementary feeding increases Common Buzzard Buteo buteo productivity but only in poor-quality habitat

Eimear Rooney, Neil Reid, W. Ian Montgomery

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Temporal heterogeneity in the effects of food supply during the breeding season on the productivity of the Common Buzzard Buteo buteo was investigated in a supplementary feeding experiment. Pairs were fed artificially (1) before egg-laying, (2) after chicks hatched and (3) continuously throughout the season, and compared with (4) unfed controls. Pairs fed before egg-laying had marginally larger clutches than those not fed, but lay date, egg volume and weight, brood size and hatching success were unaffected. Territorial quality had far greater effects, with pairs nesting in low-quality habitats (bog, scrub and semi-natural grassland) laying later and having lower hatching success, smaller broods and fewer fledglings than those in more productive agricultural landscapes. Supplementary feeding after egg hatching neutralized the negative effect of poor habitat, resulting in fed birds having significantly more fledglings. This study emphasizes the importance of food availability when provisioning chicks in suboptimal habitats and has implications for the success of diversionary feeding in reducing game losses to Buzzards.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-185
Number of pages5
Issue number1
Early online date24 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015


  • bird of prey
  • breeding season
  • human-wildlife conflict
  • reproductive success


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