Activity patterns, habitat use, foraging behaviour and food selection of the Ouvéa Parakeet (
Eunymphicus cornutus uvaeensis)
Olivier Robinet, Vincent Bretagnolle and Mick Clout
103(1) 71 - 80
Published: 04 April 2003
AbstractHabitat use, activity pattern, foraging behaviour and habitat selection of the Ouvéa Parakeet (Eunymphicus cornutus uvaeensis) were studied from July 1994 to December 1996 on the island of Ouvéa (New Caledonia, south-west Pacific), using line transects, quadrats, and radio-telemetry techniques. Home ranges of juveniles were small (mean 2.3 ha), and no dispersal from the natal area was observed up to nine weeks post-fledging. Parents spent 80% of their time during the breeding season within the home range of the juveniles and were seen near the nest site throughout the year. Parakeet densities on two study quadrats were higher (0.31 and 0.42 birds ha–1) than the average density found in a previous transect census (0.22 ± 0.09 birds ha–1). More than 20 plant species were foraged, seven of which represented 70% of the diet (31% for the single Ficus sp.). The phenology of the plants foraged on by the parakeet was marked by a long fruiting season, leading to a relative abundance of food throughout the year, especially during the breeding season. Observations on behaviour (time spent on foraging, absence of inter- or intra-specific competition for food) suggest that food is not a factor limiting the population size of the parakeets. The parakeet's habitat is tall forest, including Melanesian fields, where its distribution is remarkably patchy. The possibility of nest-site limitation is assessed in the context of the conservation of this endangered parakeet.
© Royal Australian Ornithologists Union 2003