Short-term effects of avian predation variation on population size and local survival of the multimammate rat, Mastomys natalensis (Rodentia, Muridae)
Van Gulck, T × Stoks, Robby Verhagen, R Sabuni, CA Mwanjabe, P Leirs, H #
Museum nat hist naturelle
Mammalia vol:62 issue:3 pages:329-339
The influence of avian predation on population size and local survival of Mastomys natalensis rats in Tanzania was studied in a capture-recapture study over a six month period on experimental fields with decreased, controlled and increased predation pressure. Bird observations indicated that the placement of perches increased local hunting activity of at least the Black Shouldered Kite but there were no obvious effects on rodent population size or survival. In a single field where avian predation was prevented by covering the field with a net, an increase in survival was observed. The opposite was not true but this might be due to the small size of the experimental fields. Analysis of weekly collected raptor pellets, over a 15 month period, showed an overrepresentation of M. natalensis as prey and a strong positive correlation between the density of M. natalensis and the avian predation intensity.