The feeding ecology of the Lesser Vasa Parrot, Coracopsis nigra, in south-eastern Madagascar

  • An Bollen University of Antwerp, Department of Biology, Universiteitsplein 1, B-2610 Wilrijk, Belgium <br>Centre for Research and Conservation, Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp, Koningin Astridplein 26, B-2018 Antwerp, Belgium <br>University of Hamburg, Instit
  • Linda van Elsacker University of Antwerp, Department of Biology, Universiteitsplein 1, B-2610 Wilrijk, Belgium <br>Centre for Research and Conservation, Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp, Koningin Astridplein 26, B-2018 Antwerp, Belgium
Keywords: Lesser Vasa Parrot, Coracopsis nigra, south-eastern Madagascar

Abstract

The diet and feeding ecology of the Lesser Vasa Parrot, Coracopsis nigra, in the littoral forest of Sainte Luce, south-eastern Madagascar are described. Forty plant species were recorded being eaten over a 14-month study period. Coracopsis nigra is a flexible feeder and eats a large variety of ripe and unripe seeds (68%), fruits (22%) and flowers (10%). Of all fruit species consumed, 70% of fruits are eaten in an unripe condition, which may lead to an advantage over potential food competitors. Detailed observations of feeding behaviour show that generally seeds are destroyed and the Lesser Vasa Parrot is considered primarily as pre-dispersal seed predator. A clear niche separation could be found among all granivorous species of the littoral forest based on fruit and seed size, ripeness of fruits, foraging height and activity pattern, Vasa Parrots feed on unripe and ripe fruits of medium size in the canopy, while Malagasy Turtledoves forage on small but ripe seeds on the ground. At night, rodents consume mainly large and protected seeds in the canopy as well as on the ground.

Ostrich 2004, 75(3): 141–146
Published
2005-01-14
Section
Articles

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 1727-947X
print ISSN: 0030-6525