Flowers, fruits, and the abundance of the yellow-chevroned parakeet (Brotogeris chiriri) at a gallery forest in the South Pantanal (Brazil).

  • José Ragusa-Netto
  • Published 2004 in Brazilian journal of biology = Revista brasleira de biologia

Abstract

Parakeets usually forage for massive and ephemeral plant resources at forest canopies. Fruit pulp is widely cited as a major food resource for these birds, which often eat seeds and nectar. In this study, I assessed flower and fruit production at a gallery forest in the Pantanal flood plain (Brazil) in order to evaluate the relationship between food resource production and abundance of a common parakeet, Brotogeris chiriri. Also, I evaluated the relationship between food resource production and foraging activity. Parakeet abundance varied markedly along the year, coinciding with massive episodes of flower and fleshy fruit availability. Inga vera nectar, intensely used during the latter part of dry season, was by far the most exploited food item by parakeets when they were very abundant. The nectar comprised 34% of the parakeets' diet (N = 131 feeding records) at the gallery forest, while fleshy fruits made up the rest. Parakeets principally exploited fruits of Cecropia pachystachya and Ficus luschnathiana, besides palm fruits and Inga vera arils. The consistent relationship between foraging activity and parakeet abundance, as well as the coincidence between fluctuations of these parameters and availability of major food resources, suggests that food availability mostly influenced B. chiriri occurrence in the gallery forest. Furthermore, I found no evidence for gallery forest use for roosting and/or breeding, in spite of the fact that such factors usually influence local parakeet abundance.

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