The behavioural ecology of dingoes in North-western Australia. III. Hunting and feeding behaviour, and diet

Observations from aerial radio-tracking were used together with analysis of scat and stomach samples to investigate the feeding ecology of dingoes, Canis familiaris dingo, on the lower Fortescue River in Western Australia. Between 1977 and 1984, 1948 records of hunting and feeding were obtained, and 352 scats and 119 stomachs were collected. Dingoes preyed predominantly on kangaroos, Macropus robustus and M. rufus, the most abundant and widely distributed of the larger native mammals in the area. In one site dingoes partially switched to alternative food (smaller prey and cattle carrion) when kangaroo abundance declined. However, they continued to hunt and kill kangaroos even when easy-to-obtain cattle carrion was available. The increased utilisation of smaller prey by dingoes coincided with changes in sociality (disintegration of packs and an increased number of solitary dingoes). In a sheep-grazing area, sheep were ‘easy’ prey and dingoes killed sheep and kangaroos in excess of their needs for food, although kangaroo remained a major component of their diet. Dingoes cooperating in groups were more successful than solitary dingoes in hunting large prey (kangaroos, calves). Cooperation effort was not required for dingoes to catch or kill sheep.

Author Thomson, P. C.
Date null
Year 1992
Secondary title Wildlife Research
Volume 19
Number 5
Pages 531-41
Notes Notes
Region WA