Project Leader: Sabita Gurung

Location: Kathmandu Valley

Barn owl is a nationally threatened bird enlisted as Vulnerable. Considering the need for an inventory of its occurrence in Nepal, the first scientific study was conducted in 2015 on its presence in Kathmandu valley landscape by Ms. Sabita Gurung, wildlife researcher of SMCRF. This baseline research strongly suggested need to study the Barn owl diet requirements and rodent availability along the land use gradient. These insights are important to understand ecological attributes supporting the Barn owl presence and overall ecosystem requirements for the species in the complex landscape of Kathmandu valley. This ongoing project on assessment of diet composition, prey abundance and conservation threats of Barn Owl along the urban-rural gradient in Kathmandu valley, Nepal aims to study the diet of the Barn Owl, the related small prey abundance and conservation issues along the urban-rural gradient in the valley. Barn owl pellets are being collected from the existing roosting and nesting sites to study its dietary composition. The correlating small mammal prey availability is investigated by live-trapping along the urban-rural gradient. Conservation issues is documented through habitat assessments around the roosting and nesting sites. This helps in understanding the ecological role of Barn owl in relation to its prey species and habitat requirements, and will be crucial data for developing effective measures for long term conservation of this species in human dominated landscape. The project is led by Ms. Sabita Gurung of SMCRF with financial support from Nagao Environment Foundation, Japan.