The composition and variation of the diet of urban Kestrels in Warsaw (Central Poland) were studied during non-breeding periods (October-March) between 1995 and 2003. A total of 1 651 pellets were collected (at 15 sites), in which 2 390 vertebrate prey items were found. The most common prey were small rodents (80% of items, 78% of biomass), predominantly Common Voles. Birds were markedly less common (7% of items, 11% of biomass). The dietary composition was variable during the cold season. Mean ambient temperature and the consecutive day of the cold season did influence the diet composition but snow depth did not. The main prey category in the Kestrels' diet — Microtidae — remained stable and independent of weather conditions. The percentages of mice and birds were negatively affected by mean ambient temperature, and consumption of birds was higher at the beginning (October) than at the end of the winter (March). Prey number and biomass of prey per pellet decreased during the cold season but were not influenced by temperature. The index of food niche breadth was inversely proportional to temperature.
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Vol. 42 • No. 1