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Foraging profile of a Salmon Gum woodland avifauna in Western Australia

Recher, H.F. and Davis, W.D. (2002) Foraging profile of a Salmon Gum woodland avifauna in Western Australia. Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia, 85 (2). pp. 103-111.

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During studies of the foraging ecology of birds in the western Goldfields of Western Australia in Spring 1997, 63 species were recorded. The majority were resident and insectivorous, but we estimate that about 25% were migratory or nomadic. Our interpretation of the data is that migrants and nomads had aggregated in the area in response to an abundance of nectar and insects, following good rains in autumn and winter. In addition, there were seven species of raptors, possibly attracted by the numerous nectar-feeders. Ground-foragers dominated the avifauna, but many species foraged in the shrub and canopy layers by gleaning and snatching insects from the foliage. Feeding on flying insects was also prominent and accentuated by the availability of flying termites (Isoptera) at dusk. In contrast, bark was a poorly used foraging substrate compared with other woodlands that have been studied. Differences in community-wide foraging profiles can be explained by temporal and spatial variation in the kinds and abundance of prey (including nectar), but have important implications for the conservation of woodland bird communities. Conserving woodland birds requires large and multiple reserves on a supra-landscape scale, and the restoration of ground substrates and vegetation: both are necessary if all parts of the avifauna, nomads, migrants and residents, are to be conserved.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Royal Society of Western Australia
Copyright: © Royal Society of Western Australia 2002
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