Interruptions in nectar availability: responses of White-bellied sunbirds (Cinnyris talatala) and Brown honeyeaters (Lichmera indistincta)

Show simple item record Koehler, Angela Verburgt, Luke Fleming, Patricia A. McWhorter, Todd J. Nicolson, Sue W. 2012-08-06T07:32:49Z 2012-08-06T07:32:49Z 2011-08
dc.description.abstract Limited food availability may disrupt the energy balance of animals, and small birds with high metabolic requirements and relatively low capacity for fuel storage may be particularly affected. The active lifestyle of nectar-feeding birds necessitates frequent feeding, and energy is accumulated throughout the day to sustain the birds during the night. To investigate how these birds cope with lost feeding time, we exposed captive whitebellied sunbirds (Cinnyris talatala) and brown honeyeaters (Lichmera indistincta) kept at 10°C to a 2 h fasting period during the day. Birds were fed a 0.63 M sucrose solution for the rest of the day. Food intake increased following the fast, relative to uninterrupted feeding. A comparison with the maximal food intake predicted by a digestive capacity model showed that both species fed at maximal levels in the hour following the fast. Although the short-term feeding pattern of honeyeaters was not investigated, sunbirds increased the duration of meals immediately after the fast, followed by a non-significant increase in meal frequency. In contrast to published data for hummingbirds, these two passerines accumulated energy at higher rates after the fast compared to a control day. However, food intake over the whole day was lower on the fasting day and birds weighed less in the evening compared to the control, indicating that the compensation of energy intake and accumulation was incomplete. Our study demonstrates that two phylogenetically distinct nectarivorous avian taxa show similarities in their response to fasting periods, possibly due to similar feeding behaviour and physiological constraints. en
dc.description.librarian ab2012 en
dc.description.sponsorship The South African National Research Foundation and the Australian Research Council (DP0665730). AK’s stay at Murdoch University, Perth, was funded by the University of Pretoria. en
dc.description.uri en
dc.identifier.citation Köhler, A, Verburgt, L, Fleming, PA, McWhorter, TJ & Nicolson, SW 2011, 'Interruptions in nectar availability: responses of White-bellied Sunbirds (Cinnyris talatala) and Brown Honeyeaters (Lichmera indistincta)', Emu, vol. 111, no. 3, pp. 252-258. en
dc.identifier.issn 0158-4197 (print)
dc.identifier.other 10.1071/MU10032
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher CSIRO en
dc.rights © CSIRO en
dc.subject Body mass en
dc.subject Digestive capacity modelling en
dc.subject Fasting period en
dc.subject Food intake en
dc.subject Feeding duration en
dc.subject Energy accumulation en
dc.subject.lcsh Sunbirds en
dc.subject.lcsh Honeyeaters en
dc.subject.lcsh Nectar en
dc.subject.lcsh Nectarivores en
dc.subject.lcsh Ingestion en
dc.title Interruptions in nectar availability: responses of White-bellied sunbirds (Cinnyris talatala) and Brown honeyeaters (Lichmera indistincta) en
dc.type Postprint Article en

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