In order to better understand the ecology of the golden jackal (Canis aureus) and interspecific relationships among carnivores, we studied its dietary pattern and the diet of its main competitor, the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) over a three-year period. The study was carried out in an agricultural area in SW Hungary and was based on scat analysis (jackal n = 373, fox n = 268 samples). The jackal primarily consumed small mammals in all seasons (mean biomass consumed: 72 %). The secondary food sources were wild ungulates (in winter and spring; mainly wild boar Sus scrofa, including piglets) and plants (in summer and autumn; mainly wild fruits). The consumption of cervids in winter and in spring was only detected in low proportions. The fox also primarily consumed small mammals (50.3 % of trophic niche breadth, B), but their consumption dropped in summer and autumn. Two-thirds of the summer and autumn diet consisted of plants, while the bird consumption was higher in spring and summer. The diet compositions of both predators were similar. However, compared with jackal, the fox consumed significantly higher proportions of birds. The standardized trophic niche breadth (BA) of these canids was very narrow (0.09), and the food overlapped in high proportions (69.8 %). The study confirmed the partial partitioning of food resources and opportunistic feeding of both canids.
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Vol. 65 • No. 4