Emu Emu Society
Journal of BirdLife Australia

Pollination by birds of native plants in South Australia

DC Paton and HA Ford

Emu 77(2) 73 - 85
Published: 1977


We present evidence that birds pollinate many native plants. Honeyeaters persistently and often visit flowers and regularly cany pollen. When they probe another flower some pollen is deposited on the stigma, thus effecting pollination. Floral structure or the arrangement of inflorescences ensures that birds probing flowers will regularly brush the anthers and stigmas. The pollen is carried on the bdl or feathers and is well suited to its mode of transport. No specific relation between birds and flowers was found. Each species of bird visited many flowers and each species of plant was visited by many species of birds. The plants appear adapted to the Meliphagidae as a whole. However, insects also visited many plants. The importance of birds compared to insects as pollinators is discussed.


© Royal Australian Ornithologists Union 1977

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