Mesopredators constrain a top predator: Competitive release of ravens after culling crows

Thomas W. Bodey, Robbie A. McDonald, Stuart Bearhop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Although predator control programmes rarely consider complex competitive interactions among predators, it is becoming clear that removal of larger 'superior' competitors often releases the 'inferior' ones and can precipitate trophic cascades. In contrast, our study indicates that culling hooded crows Corvus cornix appears to release a larger competitor, the common raven Corvus corax. Ravens ranged more widely, and the predation of artificial nests was significantly faster (although total predation was similar), after the removal of crows. Our study provides evidence of a novel reversal of competitive release where a larger species was freed from constraints imposed on its distribution and behaviour by a smaller species, and emphasizes the importance of considering community and ecosystem effects of predator manipulations when undertaken for conservation or game management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)617-620
Number of pages4
JournalBiology Letters
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 23 Oct 2009


  • Competitive release
  • Intraguild predation
  • Mesopredator release
  • Predator control
  • Territoriality


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