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Bird species in the diet of the birdlike noctule bat, Nyctalus aviator, in Japan.

Citation

Ibañez, Carlos et al. (2020), Bird species in the diet of the birdlike noctule bat, Nyctalus aviator, in Japan., Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.3xsj3txf8

Abstract

We investigate the birds in the diet of the birdlike noctule (Nyctalus aviator) through DNA amplification from feather remains found in fecal pellets. Our goal was to confirm that N. aviator preys on nocturnally migratory species, as does its European relative N. lasiopterus, and to gain insights into this hunting strategy (e.g. on the wing vs. from cavity-nest). The diversity and the characteristics of the birds found in the feces remains indicate that in Japan N. aviator employs a similar hunting strategy on songbirds as N. lasiopterus in Iberia.  Both noctules are primarily generalist insectivores that prey on 5-25 g body mass songbirds seasonally during their migration and probably hunt them at high altitude. Accordingly, predation on birds seems to be a strategy that appears in distant points across the Palearctic and is not the result of local specialization. We hypothesize that the bird hunting behavior appeared during evolution as a trophic jump from a pre-existing hunting behavior on the many insects that carry out seasonal nocturnal migrations in temperate zones at high-altitude.