ISSN: 1578-665X | e-ISSN: 2014-928X An international journal devoted to the study and conservation of animal biodiversity, open-access, free for authors, driven by a fast-paced editorial process that includes assessment by experts. It is published twice a year.

Comparing prey composition and prey size delivered to nestlings by great tits, Parus major, and blue tits, Cyanistes caeruleus, in a Mediterranean sclerophyllous mixed forest

Navalpotro, H.  Pagani–Núñez, E.  Hernández–Gómez, S.  Senar, J. C.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.32800/abc.2016.39.0129

Abstract

Resource partitioning is a central issue in ecology because it can establish to which point similar species can coexist in the same habitat. Great tits and blue tits have been classical model species in studies of trophic competence. However, most studies on the topic have been conducted at localities where caterpillars are by far the most relevant prey brought to the nestlings. In Mediterranean mixed forests, nevertheless, the abundance of caterpillars is relatively low and it is spiders that play a key role in the diet of great tits, at least for nestlings. The aim of this paper was to study nest food provisioning to establish the degree of diet overlap of these two tit species in a Mediterranean forest. Our results showed that blue tit feeding rates were higher than those of great tits, probably to compensate for the smaller prey delivered to nestlings by blue tits. Blue tits brought more spiders than great tits, while grey tits brought larger prey and more caterpillars. This may be because larger great tits can prey upon larger prey items than blue tits. As a main result, this study supports the view of resource partitioning by great and blue tits in sclerophyllous Mediterranean forest ecosystem.

Key words

Parus major, Cyanistes caeruleus, Diet composition, Prey size, Spiders, Mediterranean

Reception date: 11 XI 15  |   Acceptation date: 8 I 16  |   Publication date: 7 IV 16

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Índex de Volume 39.1 (2016)

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