Nowadays the use of remote photography systems is very popular for diet assessment. Despite the popularity, there is a greater need for evaluation of these systems against traditional methods of diet assessment, such as direct visual observation. The diet of Lesser Kestrel nestlings and adult provisioning rate were assessed using cameras and direct observations at four nests with various brood sizes during the breeding season in 2013. The study was conducted in an intensively cultivated area that belongs to a Special Protected Area of the Natura 2000 network in central Greece. Diet composition (prey type and size) was not affected by the recording method, the sex of adults, the brood size, the period of the day or the age of nestlings. Tettigoniidae was the most frequent prey delivered by adults. Our results from both methods showed that males delivered more prey items than females, supporting the general consensus of reversed sexual dimorphism for the Lesser Kestrel. The provisioning rate was not significantly related to brood size, but it was affected by the method of observation, parent sex and the interaction of method and nestling age. According to the direct observations, provisioning rates increased as nestlings grew up, while they decreased based on camera information. Higher provisioning rates recorded in direct observations at later nestling stages, can be explained by higher food requirements of nestlings. The decrease in provisioning rate with nestling age was mostly affected by the camera function, as a result of digital limitations, nest type and Lesser Kestrels behavior.
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Vol. 52 • No. 2