We compared direct observation methods to assess the diet of nestling Bearded Vultures in the Pyrenees northeastern Spain. Using video cameras and telescopes, diet was determined from observations of food items delivered to, and prey remains in, nests. Using video cameras, the proportion of prey identified in remains in nests was significantly greater than that identified using telescopes, but no differences were found in food items delivered to the nest and in the species composition of the diet. Data suggest that the proportion of prey identified in food items delivered was greater than that identified in prey remains. Prey remains and food items delivered grouped by taxa showed significant differences, with the remains underrepresenting small prey. By combining data on prey remains and food items delivered, these biases can be reduced or eliminated. The results suggest that the combination of prey remains and food items delivered allow one to increase sample size without biases and thus to optimize the considerable investment in time that this method of direct observation involves.
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Vol. 76 • No. 1