Intraguild predation in raptor assemblages: a review


  • Conflict of interests: The authors declare no conflict of interests.

*Corresponding author.


Intraguild predation, the killing of species that use similar resources, has been largely overlooked in raptor investigations. To help fill this gap in knowledge, we conducted a literature review, focusing on studies that tested the behavioural and demographic impact of intraguild predation on individuals, populations, and assemblages of diurnal and nocturnal raptorial species. Overall, data were available for 39 empirical and experimental studies on 63 populations belonging to 11 killer species and 15 victim species. An overview of these studies suggested that intraguild predation was a widespread, size-based phenomenon. Results from multiple studies on the same species at different locations were usually consistent across wide geographical areas. Individual-level demographic impacts included reduced site-occupancy, breeding success and survival. Individuals of the prey species responded to predation pressure through direct spatial avoidance, risk-sensitive habitat selection, short-term behavioural avoidance (e.g. reduced vocal activity and escape to refugia after predator detection) and, possibly, temporal segregation. Population-level effects were common but mainly examined as spatio-temporal correlations between the abundance of killer and victim species. Correlative evidence also suggested that intraguild predation may have the potential to structure whole raptor assemblages. More studies on other species and different geographic areas are needed to increase our understanding of the causes and consequences of this widespread interaction. From a conservation point of view, intraguild predation may limit the success of raptor preservation programmes and could be used as a management tool through its effect on mesopredator release and its potentially positive, indirect effects on game species.