Feeding regime of the passerine community in a montane forest of the Western Cantabrian Mountains

Authors: GUITIÁN, J.

Published: Volume 32(2), December 1985. Pages 155-172.

Language: Spanish

Original Title: Datos sobre el régimen alimenticio de los Paseriformes de un bosque montano de la Cordillera CantÁbrica occidental

Keywords: annual cycle, foraging, Spain and Passeriformes.


The analysis of 817 fecal samples from 26 species of passerine birds inhabiting the birch and oak woods in the Valley of Ancares (UTM 29 TPH74, Lugo, Galicia, NW Spain) is reported. Diet composition of these birds is based on animal prey (70% of the samples), mainly insects (Coleoptera, Diptera, Hymenoptera) and spiders. The vegetable fraction mainly consists of fleshy fruits, especially those of Ilex aquifolium, as well as nuts and acorns (Corylus avellana and Quercus sp.) and a variety of seeds. Feeding on vegetables increased for the whole community from spring to winter. In this period of the year the total biomass and energetic needs of the community were very high. There is a positive relation between body size and the relative importance of the plant fraction in the samples. Modal prey size corresponds to the 2-4 mm. interval. Larger birds take larger animal preys, the increase in body size does not correspond to an actual increase in prey-size diversity. We add some considerations about the seasonal intake of fruits and arthropods as related to the availability of each type of resource, bird behaviour, etc.

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