Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 299, Issue 6, pp 1119–1133 | Cite as

The assembly of plants used as nectar sources by hummingbirds in a Cerrado area of Central Brazil

  • Francielle P. Araújo
  • Marlies Sazima
  • Paulo Eugênio OliveiraEmail author
Original Article


Studies on hummingbird–plant interactions commonly use a pollination approach emphasizing mutualistic relationships. But floral resources are often used opportunistically by these birds. Plant–pollinator assemblies and pollination sustainability will depend both on the well-adapted plants and other potential floral resources. The Cerrado, Neotropical savannas of Central Brazil, has ca. 7.5 % of its flora supposedly adapted to hummingbird pollination. But detailed information about flowers effectively used by hummingbirds at community level is still lacking. Hence, we recorded all plant species visited by hummingbirds, to determine how these nectariferous flowers were distributed in time and space in different plant formations of a Cerrado area, and also the hummingbird species that visit them. The study was conducted between March 2007 and December 2008 in the Panga Ecological Station. Data regarding flowering phenology, floral morphology and visitation were collected monthly. Forty-six nectariferous species from 39 genera and 17 families were recorded, most with annual flowering dynamics and tubular flowers. But only 21 species had a combination of traits fitting classic ornithophilous syndrome. For the remaining species hummingbird visitation was ascertained from observations at the study site or other sites in the region. Eight hummingbird species occurred in the area and were recorded visiting directly 36 plant species. The study area presented a relatively low number of ornithophilous plants, but a great habitat diversity and many non-ornithophilous plants that hummingbirds used as nectar sources. Therefore, in the studied Cerrado, the diversity of environments and nectariferous plants favour the maintenance of resident and migrant hummingbirds.


Flowering phenology Floral morphology Plant community Hummingbird visitation Ornithophily Neotropical savanna 



Thanks to Camila Bonizário de Andrade and Pietro Kiyoshi Maruyama for field assistance. Universidade Federal de Uberlândia granted access to the Panga Ecological Station. This study is part of the Ph.D. of FPA at the Departamento de Biologia Vegetal, Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ecologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, São Paulo, Brasil. Financial support was provided by CAPES, CNPq, and FAPEMIG research grants.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francielle P. Araújo
    • 1
  • Marlies Sazima
    • 2
  • Paulo Eugênio Oliveira
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Instituto de BiologiaUniversidade Federal de UberlândiaUberlândiaBrazil
  2. 2.Departamento de Biologia Vegetal, Instituto de BiologiaUniversidade Estadual de CampinasCampinasBrazil

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