Feeding ecology of the Green-cheeked parakeet (Pyrrhura molinae) in dry forests in western Brazil

  • Ragusa-Netto J
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Abstract

The genus Pyrrhura includes small to medium-sized parakeets, which inhabit both low and dry alongside tall rainforests, mainly in South America. Pyrrhura molinae is still common, year round, in the markedly seasonal forests of western Brazil. This parakeet, as well as most Neotropical parrots, continues to be poorly understood. Hence, in the present study I examined their foraging ecology both in a highly deciduous and in a semi-deciduous forest in western Brazil. In addition, I assessed the relationship between food resource production (flowers and fruits), and the diet of this parakeet. Pyrrhura molinae exhibited a flexible diet consisting of 16 tree species, from which it consumed flowers (three species), seeds (three species), fruit pulp or aril (four species), and both pulp and seeds (six species). Parakeets consumed a wide array of fleshy fruits in the semi-deciduous forest, especially Cecropia pachystachya catkins. Conversely, in the highly deciduous forest they extensively foraged for figs (70% of the diet), in addition to nectar and seeds from dry fruits. Ficus calyptroceras, besides being abundant, bore fruits year round, and was substantially used by parakeets every month. Potentially, by exploiting a diverse set of plant food resources, and particularly due to the substantial use of figs, asynchronously produced, Pyrrhura molinae persists during the long dry season in the markedly seasonal forests of western Brazil.O gênero Pyrrhura é constituido de pequenos periquitos comuns tanto em matas secas quanto úmidas, sobretudo da América do Sul. Pyrrhura molinae ocorre durante o ano todo em florestas altamente sazonais do oeste brasileiro. Essa espécie, bem como a maioria dos psitacídeo, permanece pouco conhecida. Portanto, nesse estudo, foi examinada a ecologia alimentar de P. molinae em dois tipos de florestas secas (altamente decídua e semidecídua), do oeste brasileiro, bem como as relações entre a produção de flores frutos e a utilização desses recursos. Pyrrhura molinae exibiu uma dieta flexível em que utilizou recursos de 16 espécies arbóreas, sendo flores de três, sementes de outras três, a polpa dos frutos ou arilo de quatro espécies e, simultaneamente, a polpa e semente de seis espécies. Os periquitos consumiram principalmente frutos carnosos na floresta semidecídua, especialmente as infrutescências de Cecropia pachystachya. Por outro lado, na floresta altamente decídua, figos predominaram na dieta (70% dos registros de alimentação), somados ao néctar e sementes de frutos secos. Ficus calyptroceras, além de abundante produziu frutos o ano todo, que foram consumidos substancialmente pelos periquitos mês a mês. Presumivelmente, por explorar uma ampla variedade de recursos vegetais e subsistir, em grande parte, a base de figos produzidos assincronicamente, Pyrrhura molinae persiste à severa estação seca nas matas decíduas do oeste brasileiro.

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Ragusa-Netto, J. (2007). Feeding ecology of the Green-cheeked parakeet (Pyrrhura molinae) in dry forests in western Brazil. Brazilian Journal of Biology, 67(2), 243–249. https://doi.org/10.1590/s1519-69842007000200009

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