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Keywords:

  • Anthornis melanura;
  • bellbirds;
  • height effects;
  • New Zealand;
  • pollen limitation;
  • pollination;
  • sampling bias;
  • vertical stratification

ABSTRACT

For pollination studies of forest species it is sometimes only possible to work on those flowers nearest to the ground. We test whether using low flowers introduces bias, by measuring height effects on bird visitation and fruit set in one mistletoe species pollinated by bellbirds in New Zealand. At this site, previous studies have shown fruit set near the ground to be pollen limited. We measured fruit set on 32 mistletoes at different heights in 11 host trees. Mistletoe fruit set varied significantly among host trees but did not vary with height. Although bellbirds generally forage preferentially in the upper part of the forest, mistletoe flowers appear to be attractive enough to ensure adequate visitation and fruit set at all heights.