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Avian Foraging Behavior in Two Different Types of Coffee Agroecosystem in Chiapas, Mexico

Dietsch, Thomas V., Perfecto, Ivette, Greenberg, Russell
Biotropica 2007 v.39 no.2 pp. 232-240
agroecosystems, birds, flowering, flowers, foraging, fruiting, insectivores, management systems, phenology, summer, trees, winter, Mexico
This study describes the foraging ecology of birds during summer and winter in two different types of coffee agroecosystems in Chiapas, Mexico. Avian foraging behavior is documented in two agroecosystems of differing management intensity, structurally similar but with different levels of floristic diversity, during summer and winter seasons. The distribution of tree species used by birds was more even, and birds used a greater diversity of tree species, in the more diverse coffee shade system. Much of the variation in resource use derived from shifts in the use of flowers and fruit, highlighting the importance in resource phenology for birds. Insectivory was more frequent in winter than summer for the coffee layer, and in summer for the shade layer. Given the vegetative structural similarity of the two coffee agroecosystems included in this study, floristic differences probably accounted for much of the difference in the bird communities between the management systems, especially given the strong seasonal response to flowering and fruiting. This work suggests that plentiful and diverse food resources associated with the high diversity of plant species may facilitate coexistence of the high number of bird species found in shade-grown coffee agroecosystems.