This retrospective study analyzes the causes of morbidity of little owl (Athene noctua) admitted to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre of Torreferrussa from 1995 to 2010. A total of 1,427 little owls were
included in the study, with an average of 89 cases per year (range: 73–116). As regards the sex category, 80.7% animals (1,152/1,427) were classified as undetermined gender, 9.1% (130/1,427) were sexed as females and 10.2% (145/1,427) as males. The overall age distribution according to the calendar year showed that 66.6% (951/1,427) of birds were ‘1st calendar year and 16.6% (237/1,427) were ‘> 1 calendar year’. Age could not be determined in 16.7% of birds. Primary causes of admission were orphaned young (53.2%), unknown trauma (24.7%), impact with motor vehicles (5.6%), other cause (5.5%), undetermined (3.7%), illegally captive (2.1%), natural diseases (2.1%), and gunshot (1.1%). Within the breeding season the frequency of admissions due to traumas –unknown trauma (X2 = 147.108; p < 0.001)– and impact with motor vehicles (X2 = 28.528; p < 0.001) and other cause (X2 = 11.420; p = 0.003) were the most important causes. In winter, admissions were mainly related to unknown trauma and gunshot. Over the fifteen years we observed a significant increase in the orphaned young category.
Little owl, Rehabilitation centres, Morbidity, Epidemiology
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