Leaf-slicing behavior in the Blue-headed Parrot (Pionus menstruus) in central Amazonia is likely linked to highly selective caterpillar predation

Adrian A. Barnett, Lucy M. Todd, Tadeu G. De Oliveira

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

Abstract

Although they eat seeds, pulp, petals, pollen, and nectar, parrots are rarely recorded as eating leaves, with only one species being fully folivorous. In terra firme forest in south-central Brazilian Amazonia, we recorded apparent folivory over a several sequential days by the Blue-headed Parrot (Pionus menstruus) on young leaflets of Swartzia polyphylla (Fabaceae). Closer examination, however, showed that the majority of processed leaves also contained small caterpillars, so that we consider this to be a record of highly selective insectivory, which is also uncommonly reported in parrots. We speculate that such events may be more common than realized and act as dietary supplements for a seed-based diet.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)809-813
Number of pages5
JournalWilson Journal of Ornithology
Volume130
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Neotropics
  • Swartzia
  • caterpillars
  • leaves
  • parrot

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