Emu Emu Society
Journal of BirdLife Australia

More Examples of Fruiting Trees Visited Predominantly by Birds of Paradise

BM Beehler and JP Dumbacher

Emu 96(2) 81 - 88
Published: 1996


Based on observations at Varirata National Park, Papua New Guinea, we document and characterise two Papuan tree species in the mahogany family (Meliaceae) whose fruit were consumed only by birds of paradise (family Paradisaeidae), and a third tree of the nutmeg family (Myristicaceae) whose fruit were predominantly consumed by birds of paradise. These three plant species exhibited differing degrees of forager specificity, with the Raggiana Bird of Paradise Paradisaea raggiana being the numerically dominant forager at all three plants (80% to 97% of all foraging records). All three plants produce structurally protected fruit. By contrast, parallel observations of avian foraging at two foodplants with structurally unprotected fruit documented visitation by diverse frugivore assemblages, more typical of previous studies of foraging at tropical fruiting trees. These data reinforce earlier field observations of restricted paradisaeid foraging assemblages at selected tree species in a forest in the uplands of the northern watershed of Papua New Guinea, and point to the existence of what may be a specialised plant/frugivore syndrome.


© Royal Australian Ornithologists Union 1996

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