The community of hummingbirds (Aves: Trochilidae) and the assemblage of flowers in a Caatinga vegetation

A comunidade de beija-flores (Aves: Trochilidae) e a assembleia de flores em uma área de Caatinga

FMG Las-Casas SM Azevedo Júnior MM Dias Filho About the authors

We studied hummingbirds and their food plants in an area of caatinga vegetation. We specifically examined their seasonal use of this habitat, migratory and non-migratory status, their foraging strategies and community roles The study was conducted in an area of arboreal-shrub caatinga, located in the Serra do Pará, municipality of Santa Cruz do Capibaribe, state of Pernambuco in northeastern Brazil. Field work was undertaken during 12 expeditions on a monthly basis between June, 2007 and May, 2008. Five species of hummingbirds were recorded visiting flowers in the community studied. Three were considered residents: Chlorostilbon lucidus (Shaw, 1812), Eupetomena macroura (Gmelin, 1788), and Heliomaster squamosus (Temminck, 1823). Hummingbirds visited 31 species of plants, of which only five presented attributes related to ornithophily. C. lucidus visited 29 plant species, including all ornithophilous species, and it was the most aggressive, defending territories. Among hummingbirds, C. lucidus may be considered the principal pollinator. Hummingbirds may also be acting as pollen vectors for some of the plant species not identified as ornithophilous. The hummingbird guilds varied among the plant species used as floral resources, as well as in their frequency of visits. Differences in plant species abundance, hummingbird preference, competitive exclusion or flowering seasonality are factors likely to influence those variations.

caatinga; floral resources; hummingbirds; ornithophily; pollination


Instituto Internacional de Ecologia R. Bento Carlos, 750, 13560-660 São Carlos SP - Brasil, Tel. e Fax: (55 16) 3362-5400 - São Carlos - SP - Brazil
E-mail: bjb@bjb.com.br