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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.

Authors

H. Navalpotro

S. Hernández–Gómez

J.C. Senar



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.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 8, 2016
Online Publication Date Apr 7, 2016
Publication Date 2016
Deposit Date Nov 2, 2022
Publicly Available Date Nov 3, 2022
Journal Animal Biodiversity and Conservation
Print ISSN 1578-665X
Publisher Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 39
Issue 1
Pages 129-139
DOI https://doi.org/10.32800/abc.2016.39.0129
Keywords Parus major, Cyanistes caeruleus, Diet composition, Prey size, Spiders, Mediterranean
Public URL http://researchrepository.napier.ac.uk/Output/2946749

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