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Foraging ecology of epiphyte-searching insectivorous birds in Costa Rica

Foraging ecology of epiphyte-searching insectivorous birds in Costa Rica

Condor 96(4): 863-877

ISSN/ISBN: 0010-5422

DOI: 10.2307/1369098

Foraging ecology and diet of eight species of epiphyte-searching insectivorous birds were studied in the Talamanca mountains of Costa Rica to determine degree of epiphyte specialization. To measure species' selectivity for epiphytic substrates, quantitative data on epiphyte availability was compared to actual bird use of epiphytes. Associations between each species and its foraging substrates, foraging maneuvers, and diets suggested a continuum in foraging behaviors across the eight species. At one end of this continuum were substrate-restricted species, whose foraging behavior and prey choice appear to have been mediated by the nature of their foraging substrates. At the other end of the continuum were prey-specific species, whose foraging behavior and substrate choice appear to have been determined by the nature of their prey. Four species in the study area (approximately 8% of the resident avifauna) were epiphyte specialists: Pseudocolaptes lawrencii on arboreal bromeliads, Margarornis rubiginosus on bryophytes, Lepidocolaptes affinis on bryophytes and foliose lichens, and Troglodytes ochraceus on epiphytic root masses.

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Accession: 002845179

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