We studied the contribution of understory frugivorous birds to the seed inflow into a late successional Atlantic forest patch in southeastern Brazil. Five sampling units were established in the study site, each composed of a line of six mist nets and two adjacent plots containing six seed traps. Immigrant seed species were more frequent in seed traps during the rainy season, when fruit production was higher. On the other hand, the frequency of occurrence of immigrant seed species found in fecal samples of the understory frugivores was higher during the dry season. Although understory frugivorous birds were not responsible for the temporal pattern of the seed rain, they can play an important role in bringing edge plant species that will eventually colonize forest gaps, contributing to forest patch dynamics.
Atlantic forest; frugivory; immigrant seeds; seed dispersal