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European Journal of Wildlife Research

, Volume 53, Issue 3, pp 190–194 | Cite as

Seasonal variation in the diet of citril finches Carduelis citrinella: are they specialists or generalists?

  • Marc I. Förschler
Original Paper

Abstract

The seasonal variation of food selection in mountainous citril finches was studied in the Black Forest. citril finches show a strong seasonal variation in quantity and quality of food plants. From November to March, only a few plants have been observed as diet, namely seeds of the germander and the mountain pine (period of food restriction). From April to June, the seeds of a few key food plants such as the dandelion, common sorrel, vernal grass, and mountain pine gain special importance during breeding and the rearing period of the young (period of food specialization). Finally, from June/July to October, citril finches enter into a generalist period with a wide variety of seeds of herbs and grasses (period of food generalization). The changes in food selection are well adapted to the changing resource availabilities and climatic conditions of the Black Forest mountains. In direct comparison to other finches, pure mountain-dwelling species such as citril finches and Syrian serins show a clearly higher seasonal variability in food selection than do lowland species such as goldfinches, linnets, and greenfinches.

Keywords

Mountain birds finches citril finch Carduelis citrinella Food adaptation Seasonal diet selection Specialization 

Notes

Acknowledgement

I would like to thank Ulrich Dorka, Volker Dorka, Elisabeth Kalko, and two anonymous referees for the constructive comments on the manuscript. The study was conducted with financial support from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology and the Landesgraduiertenförderung Baden-Württemberg, University of Ulm. It was furthermore supported by a fellowship within the postdoctoral programme of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Avian ResearchWilhelmshavenGermany

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