Brazilian Journal of Botany
On-line version ISSN 1806-9959
LEAL, Fabrícia Correia; LOPES, Ariadna Valentina and MACHADO, Isabel Cristina. Pollination by hummingbirds in a "caatinga" area in Pernambuco State, northeastern Brazil. Rev. bras. Bot. [online]. 2006, vol.29, n.3, pp. 379-389. ISSN 1806-9959. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-84042006000300005.
Ornithophilous plants were studied in a caatinga area (8º36'00" S and 38º34'5" W) in the State of Pernambuco, Northeast of Brazil, from July 2002 to June 2003. Eight ornithophilous species, belonging to five families and seven genera, were registered in the studied community. Cactaceae was the most representative family, with three species pollinated by hummingbirds, followed by Bromeliaceae with two species. Excepting for Bromelia laciniosa Mart. ex Schult. f. and Neoglaziovia variegata (Arruda) Mez (Bromeliaceae), the remaining species had flowering peak in the dry season. Fifty percent of the species have herbaceous habit, followed by shrubs (37.5%). Most species have red flowers (62.5%) and all of them have tubular flowers with corolla length of 20.2 ± 5.6 mm. Sugar concentration in the nectar varied from 18% to 33% and the volume from 22 to 41 µL. There were species flowering throughout the whole year. Five hummingbird species visited the flowers in the community and only one was considered resident. Chlorostilbon aureoventris (d'Orbigny & Lafresnaye, 1838), due to its frequency and visiting behaviour, was considered as the dominant species. The number of ornithophilous species is lower than those found in other ecosystems as, for example, in the Atlantic forest remnants and some other Neotropical areas. Furthermore, a Trochilinae hummingbird, and not a Phaethornithinae, acted as the "community organizer" species.
Keywords : caatinga; hummingbirds; northeastern Brazil; ornithophily; pollination.