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Animal Biodiversity and Conservation. Volume 44.2 (2021) Pages: 321-327

A comparison of the diet of urban and forest great tits in a Mediterranean habitat

Senar, J. C., Manzanilla, A., Mazzoni, D.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.32800/abc.2021.44.0321

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Abstract

The low breeding performance and body condition of nestling passerine birds in urban environments has been attributed to the poor quality and low abundance of food in these settings. However, detailed data on prey provided by parents to their chicks in the urban habitat is scarce. Here we used video cameras set in nest boxes to compare the diet of urban and forest great tits Parus major when provisioning their chicks in a Mediterranean area. We additionally analysed brood size and fledgling success. Breeding success of urban great tits was lower than that of forest birds. Urban parents displayed a lower average hourly feeding rate per nestling than forest parents. Among the three prey item categories, the percentage of spiders did not vary according to habitat. However, the percentage of caterpillars delivered to the nest by great tit parents was higher in the forest than in the urban habitat while the percentage of ‘other’ prey showed a reverse pattern. ‘Other’ prey were mainly adult butterflies and wasps in the urban habitat. Our paper adds to the view that the low feeding rates and scarcity of caterpillars in urban environments may be the underlying cause constraining the growth of great tit nestlings in these areas.

Keywords

Urbanization, Diet, Great tits, Parental provisioning, Prey composition, Prey size

Cite

Senar, J. C., Manzanilla, A., Mazzoni, D., 2021. A comparison of the diet of urban and forest great tits in a Mediterranean habitat. Animal Biodiversity and Conservation, 44: 321-327, DOI: https://doi.org/10.32800/abc.2021.44.0321

Reception date:

21/06/2021

Acceptation date:

20/09/2021

Publication date:

01/10/2021

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