Food selection by avian floral visitors: an important aspect of plant–flower visitor interactions in West Africa

Authors

  • Štěpán Janeček,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Botany, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Dukelská 135, CZ-379 82 Třeboň, Czech Republic
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  • Jan Riegert,

    1. Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, Branišovská 31, CZ-370 05 České Budějovice, Czech Republic
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  • Ondřej Sedláček,

    1. Department of Ecology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Viničná 7, CZ-128 44 Praha, Czech Republic
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  • Michael Bartoš,

    1. Institute of Botany, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Dukelská 135, CZ-379 82 Třeboň, Czech Republic
    2. Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, Branišovská 31, CZ-370 05 České Budějovice, Czech Republic
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  • David Hořák,

    1. Department of Ecology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Viničná 7, CZ-128 44 Praha, Czech Republic
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  • Jiří Reif,

    1. Institute for Environmental Studies, Charles University in Prague, Benátská 2, 128 01 Praha 2, Czech Republic
    2. Department of Zoology and Laboratory of Ornithology, Faculty of Science, Palacky University, tr. Svobody 26, 77146 Olomouc, Czech Republic
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  • Eliška Padyšáková,

    1. Institute of Botany, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Dukelská 135, CZ-379 82 Třeboň, Czech Republic
    2. Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, Branišovská 31, CZ-370 05 České Budějovice, Czech Republic
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  • Drahomíra Fainová,

    1. Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, Branišovská 31, CZ-370 05 České Budějovice, Czech Republic
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  • Marcin Antczak,

    1. Department of Behavioural Ecology, Adam Mickiewicz University, Faculty of Biology, Umultowska 89, 61-614 Poznań, Poland
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  • Michal Pešata,

    1. Institute of Botany, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Dukelská 135, CZ-379 82 Třeboň, Czech Republic
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  • Václav Mikeš,

    1. Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, Branišovská 31, CZ-370 05 České Budějovice, Czech Republic
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  • Eliška Patáčová,

    1. Institute of Botany, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Dukelská 135, CZ-379 82 Třeboň, Czech Republic
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  • Jan Altman,

    1. Institute of Botany, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Dukelská 135, CZ-379 82 Třeboň, Czech Republic
    2. Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, Branišovská 31, CZ-370 05 České Budějovice, Czech Republic
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  • Jana Kantorová,

    1. Institute of Botany, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Dukelská 135, CZ-379 82 Třeboň, Czech Republic
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  • Záboj Hrázský,

    1. Institute of Botany, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Dukelská 135, CZ-379 82 Třeboň, Czech Republic
    2. Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, Branišovská 31, CZ-370 05 České Budějovice, Czech Republic
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  • Jakub Brom,

    1. Department of Landscape Management, Faculty of Agriculture, University of South Bohemia, Studentská 13, CZ-370 05 České Budějovice, Czech Republic
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  • Jiří Doležal

    1. Institute of Botany, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Dukelská 135, CZ-379 82 Třeboň, Czech Republic
    2. Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, Branišovská 31, CZ-370 05 České Budějovice, Czech Republic
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E-mail: janecek@butbn.cas.cz

Abstract

Community-level studies have shown that plant–pollinator interactions are much more generalized than previously expected. Consequently, many authors have questioned the significance of phenotypic complementarity between plants and pollinators and abundance effects in pollination interactions. Here, we compare the behaviour of three sunbird species feeding on the nectar of five plant species in afromontane vegetation. We studied the feeding behaviour with and without consideration of plant abundance (i.e. diet selectivity and diet composition, respectively). The aims of the study were to estimate: (1) how relative resource abundance influences flower selectivity; (2) the degree of phenotypic matching; and (3) whether different plant resource assessment methods give different answers to this question. The results showed that, although sunbirds frequently feed on both morphologically adapted and nonadapted plants, food selectivity data are consistent with the hypothesis of phenotypic complementarity. Moreover, we found that the type of plant abundance measurement can change conclusions in some cases, as individual plants differ in their growth habits and nectar production. This effect was most obvious for the assessment of selectivity of the northern double-collared sunbird (Cinnyris reichenowi) and for Hypoestes aristata, a plant producing inflorescences composed of a large number of small flowers possessing small amounts of nectar per flower (a high abundance of flowers, but a low abundance of nectar relative to the remaining plant community). © 2012 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2012, ••, ••–••.

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