Ecological Research

, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp 913–923

Species-specific foraging behavior of birds in a riparian forest

Energy, nutrients and food webs

In riparian forest, insectivorous birds are largely dependent on aquatic preys. However, the contribution made by aquatic preys to bird diets varies considerably among bird species. In the present study, bird foraging behaviors were observed in order to examine the relationship between bird foraging method and the variation in the contribution of aquatic preys. The great tit, the black-faced bunting, and the wren are largely dependent on aquatic preys by capturing them on the ground. Sallyers, the brown flycatcher, the pale-legged willow warbler, and the narcissus flycatcher are also largely dependent on aquatic preys and capture them mostly during flight. The narcissus flycatcher frequently utilises aquatic invertebrates dwelling on the ground. The leaf and branch gleaner, the crowned willow warbler, does not depend on aquatic prey as much. Although both the pygmy woodpecker and nuthatch are branch and trunk gleaners, the nuthatch utilises aquatic preys frequently by capturing them on the ground as well as during flight, but the pygmy woodpecker does not depend on aquatic preys. The marsh tit also does not depend on aquatic preys but carefully searches terrestrial prey that hide in the vegetation. The differential dependence on aquatic preys among species can lead to the heterogeneous distribution of birds within a riparian forest, suggesting that the indirect effect of aquatic preys on a forest ecosystem via birds can vary within a forest–stream ecotone.

Key words

allochthonous prey input bird foraging behavior forest–stream ecotone 

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Copyright information

© Ecological Society of Japan 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tomakomai Research StationHokkaido University ForestsHokkaidoJapan
  2. 2.Center for Ecological ResearchKyoto UniversityOtsuShigaJapan

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