Male Montagu's Harriers delivered prey to their mates by ground and aerial transfer. Between 1992 and 1995, 365 cases of food pass behaviour were recorded (0.47 transfer per observation hour) on calcareous marshes near Chełm in eastern Poland. All of them were observed inside the territory. Ground transfer was dominant at the beginning of the pre-laying period during the time of pair formation. In the courtship season 107 ground transfers (29%) were observed (0.2 per hour). Aerial transfers were observed in 258 cases (71%, 0.41 per hour). The efficiency of aerial food pass was 98% (only five passes ended in the loss of food), that of ground transfer was 100%. Food transfer was strongly correlated with copulation, especially after ground transfer. The number of ground transfers of food was correlated with average time of sky-dancing in males.
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Vol. 41 • No. 1