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Fruiting phenology and consumption by birds in Ficus calyptroceras (Miq.) Miq. (Moraceae)

Fenologia da frutificação e consumo de figos por aves em Ficus calyptroceras Miq. (Moraceae)

Figs are a remarkable food resource to frugivores, mainly in periods of general fruit scarcity. Ficus calyptroceras Miq. (Moraceae) is the only fig species in a type of dry forest in western Brazil. In this study I examined the fruiting pattern as well as fig consumption by birds in F. calyptroceras. Although rainfall was highly seasonal, fruiting was aseasonal, since the monthly proportion of fruiting trees ranged from 4% to 14% (N = 50 trees). I recorded 22 bird species feeding on figs. In the wet season 20 bird species ate figs, while in the dry season 13 did. Parrots were the most important consumers. This group removed 72% and 40% of the figs consumed in the wet and dry seasons, respectively. No bird species increases fig consumption from dry to wet season. However, a group of bird species assumed as seed dispersers largely increases fig consumption from wet to dry season, suggesting the importance of this resource in the period of fruit scarcity. The results of this study points out the remarkable role that F. calyptroceras plays to frugivorous birds, in such a dry forest, since its fruits were widely consumed and were available all year round.

frugivory; Ficus; birds; tropical dry forest; western Brazil

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