Avian Desert Predators by William E. Cook

By William E. Cook

Birds aren't quite well matched to abandon existence. not like mammals, they're commonly energetic through the day and don't often pass underground to flee the serious wasteland warmth. one of the few varieties of birds that experience effectively invaded the wilderness atmosphere are the predators. Many species of hawks, owls, roadrunners, vultures, and shrikes live on rather well in deserts. What attributes make this workforce particularly fitted to desolate tract existence? How have they augmented their skills to deal with the cruel constraints imposed by means of the wasteland habitat? those are one of the concerns explored during this new quantity, which brings jointly a lot of the present study on diversifications of avian barren region predators.

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One of the more unusual adaptations among desert raptors is that of the Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus caeruleus) of the desert island of Masira in the Arabian Sea. The island consists of jagged lava crags in the central highlands, surrounded by low sandy plains, none of which support any rodent populations. Scarcely more than a few lizards occupy the area. Yet, a small population of kites is able to survive and occasionally raise a single nestling by scavenging for scraps of fish in the Arab fishing villages (Grossman and Hamlet 1964).

Scarcely more than a few lizards occupy the area. Yet, a small population of kites is able to survive and occasionally raise a single nestling by scavenging for scraps of fish in the Arab fishing villages (Grossman and Hamlet 1964). 5 Hunting from the Ground Many deserts characteristically lack trees, or even tall cacti, for perches. If a predator wishes to avoid the energy expenditure of hunting from the air, the Predatory Behavior in Hawks and Allies 39 only alternative is to walk over the ground to stalk prey.

Temperature regulation is perhaps the most important constraint for survival among homeotherms. Among vultures, Turkey Vultures seem to be particularly able to tolerate a wide range of temperatures without resorting to energy-demanding, metabolic temperature regulation mechanisms. The relatively wide thermoneutral zone of Turkey Vultures allows them to live in diverse habitats including deserts. Further, birds adapted to hot climates also seem to have a lower metabolic rate, so that they produce less body heat and require less energy for cooling.

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