The foraging profile of a wandoo woodland avifauna in early spring



Abstract This study reports on the foraging profile of a wandoo woodland avifauna at Dryandra in Western Australia, Australia. Despite its geographical isolation, wandoo woodland shares a large number of species with woodland bird communities in eastern Australia and there are broad similarities in community foraging profiles. Insect-eating birds using ground, bark, foliage, and aerial substrates dominate eucalypt bird communities. Nectar-feeding and seed/fruit-eating guilds are important components of the Australian avifauna, but have fewer species, and vary in composition and abundance as nectar, seed, and fruit availability changes seasonally and from year to year, and from one locality to another. Despite similarities, there are also differences between the foraging profile of the wandoo avifauna and those in eastern Australia. Specifically, the wandoo avifauna is characterized by a high proportion of ground-foraging species. In addition, many wandoo woodland birds appear to spread their foraging over a wider range of substrates (i.e., ground, bark, and foliage) than eastern species. Differences in habitat structure do not explain these differences in community foraging profiles, and there may be differences in the abundance, kind, and spatial distribution of resources between different eucalypt ecosystems. Possibly the eastern communities have lost ground-dwelling components of their avifauna since European settlement, while the woodlands at Dryandra retain a more intact avifauna. The reasons why some species and not others are lost from woodlands as a result of European land management practices are discussed.