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Diurnal foraging routines in a tropical bird: how important is predation risk?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Author(s)

MJ Brandt, Will Cresswell

School/Research organisations

Abstract

An animal's foraging decisions are the outcome of the relative importance of the risk of starvation and predation. Fat deposition insures against periods of food shortage but it also carries a cost in terms of mass dependent predation risk due to reduced escape probability and extended exposure time. Accordingly, birds have been observed to show a unimodal foraging pattern with foraging concentrated at the end of the day under conditions of predictable food resources and high predation risk. We tested this hypothesis in a tropical granivorous finch, the rock firefinch Lagonosticta sanguinodorsalis, in an outdoor aviary experiment during which food was provided ad lib and the risk of predation was varied by providing food either adjacent to, or 5 m away from cover. Rock firefinches showed a bimodal foraging pattern regardless of the risk of predation at which they fed. The results suggest that predation is relatively unimportant in shaping their daily feeding pattern despite mass gain during the day being similar to temperate birds. Foraging patterns closely follow diurnal temperature variation and this is suggested to be the main determinant of the observed bimodal pattern.

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Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-94
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Avian Biology
Volume40
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009

    Research areas

  • BLACKBIRDS TURDUS-MERULA, MASS-DEPENDENT PREDATION, WINTERING BIRDS, FAT RESERVES, TRADE-OFF, ENERGY MANAGEMENT, FOOD ABUNDANCE, WATER ECONOMY, BODY-MASS, CONSEQUENCES

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