The Forest Owlet (Heteroglaux blewitti), Spotted Owlet (Athene brama) and Jungle Owlet (Glaucidium radiatum) are small owls coexisting in the East Kalibhit Forests in the Khandwa District of Madhya Pradesh State, India. We compared their diets to better understand their food habits, dietary overlap, and the mechanism of their coexistence. The diet of the three species differed significantly. The diet of the Forest Owlet was dominated by small mammals (52.2%, by frequency), whereas invertebrates dominated the diets of the Spotted Owlet (58.1%) and Jungle Owlet (84.8%). The Forest Owlet consumed a wider array of prey (food-niche breadth [FNB] = 0.40) compared to the Spotted Owlet (FNB = 0.13) and the Jungle Owlet (FNB = 0.06). The dietary overlap was highest between the Forest Owlet and Spotted Owlet (56%), lower between the Spotted and Jungle Owlet (28%), and lowest between the Forest and Jungle Owlet (22%). Diets also differed significantly among the three owls in terms of the mean prey mass of the species consumed. The Forest Owlet is a generalist predator feeding on various sizes and types of prey; the Spotted Owlet feeds on large and medium-sized mammals, as well as invertebrates, and the Jungle Owlet is a specialist feeding mainly on invertebrates and small mammals. Our results suggest the three species coexist by consuming prey of different sizes.
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