In birds of prey, food availability affects the entire breeding process, including reproductive success. Sequential polyandry, sometimes documented in raptors and owls, has been observed occasionally in Tengmalm's owl in years of high food availability. In this study, the effect of food supply on the reproductive strategy of the central European Tengmalm's owl population has been investigated. The availability of the main prey of owls was significantly below average in the study year 2014. This resulted in low breeding density of owls, delayed egg laying, small clutch sizes, and low reproductive success. Nevertheless, successful sequential polyandry of one Tengmalm's owl female was recorded during the breeding season. The polyandrous female laid four eggs in each nests, and 50 % and 75 % of four hatched nestlings left the nest during the first and second breeding, respectively. In both nesting attempts, the two-year old female was of a substandard body mass and she abandoned the fledglings before they left the nests. Prey delivered by males to both nests was comprised mainly of alternative prey (birds and shrews). The results of this study suggest that there are probably some other factors, in addition to food availability, that may play a role in Tengmalm's owl's decisions in matters of parental care.
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Vol. 64 • No. 2