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Animal Biodiversity and Conservation. Volume 39.1 (2016) Pages: 129-139

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

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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.

Keywords

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

Cite

Navalpotro, H., Pagani-Núñez, E., Hernández-Gómez, S., Senar, J. C., 2016. 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. Animal Biodiversity and Conservation, 39: 129-139, DOI: https://doi.org/10.32800/abc.2016.39.0129

Reception date:

11/11/2015

Acceptation date:

08/01/2016

Publication date:

07/04/2016

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