What is on the menu for frugivorous birds in the Cerrado? Fruiting phenology and nutritional traits highlight the importance of habitat complementarity

Pietro Kiyoshi Maruyama Celine Melo Camila Pascoal Eduardo Vicente João Custódio Fernandes Cardoso Vinícius Lourenço Garcia Brito Paulo Eugênio Oliveira About the authors


The relationship between plants and frugivorous animals is modulated by morphological and nutritional characteristics of fruits, as well as their seasonal availability across habitats. We evaluated fruiting phenology, fruit morphology and nutritional characteristics of 35 abundant plant species from 15 families associated with frugivorous birds from distinct habitats in the Cerrado (savanna, forest, and palm swamp). For a subset of 16 plant species, we also evaluated the overlap in interactions with frugivorous birds using data from the literature. Open-habitat plants had their fruiting peak during the rainy season, while fruiting of forest species was evenly distributed across the year. Plants of the same family exhibited similar fruit morphology and nutritional characteristics. Most plants had fruits with more sugars than lipids, while all species with higher lipid content were from savanna habitats and produced fruits during the rainy season, the peak reproductive season for birds. Assemblages of frugivorous birds exhibited considerable overlap, irrespective of habitat or fruiting season of plants. The complementarity found among habitats, considering seasonal availability and nutritional profile of fruits for frugivorous birds, is relevant for community maintenance and regeneration. Therefore, this landscape level complexity should always be considered in conservation and restoration policies for the Cerrado.

Copaifera langsdorffii; Matayba guianensis; Miconia rubiginosa; Neotropical savanna; Ouratea; Rourea induta; Rudgea viburnoides; seed dispersal; Styrax ferrugineus; Vereda

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