Nestling Diet of Two Sympatric Insectivorous Passerines in Different Habitats—A Metabarcoding Study

Höhn, Daniel and Masello, Juan F. and Kümmel, Marc N. and Griep, Sven and Goesmann, Alexander and Quillfeldt, Petra (2024) Nestling Diet of Two Sympatric Insectivorous Passerines in Different Habitats—A Metabarcoding Study. Birds, 5 (1). pp. 67-89. ISSN 2673-6004

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Increasing landscape transformations and urbanisation affect insectivorous bird populations in various ways such as food availability, breeding phenology, or reproductive success. Especially during the breeding season, many passerine birds rely on the availability of caterpillars as the main prey for their nestlings. Previous studies suggested that similar diet preferences of sympatric species may result in interspecific competition, as demonstrated for Blue and Great Tits in forest habitats. However, nestling diet and prey preferences in other habitats are not fully understood. Prey availability, especially caterpillars, is lower in cities than in forests, thus influencing prey choice and interspecific competition. Here we used faecal DNA metabarcoding to investigate if nestling diet composition of the two sympatric species Blue Cyanistes caeruleus and Great Tits Parus major varied among species and different habitats (forest, traditional orchards, and urban parks). Furthermore, we examined food availability by DNA barcoding of the arboreal arthropod communities among habitats and compared them to the nestling diet to infer parental prey selectivity. The study was carried out in central Germany from 2018 to 2019. Blue and Great Tits showed a diverse diet which was dominated by Lepidoptera in all habitats. Lepidopteran diet components were most similar between forest and orchard sites, as were the components with other arthropods between orchard and urban sites. Both tit species showed selectivity for the lepidopteran families Geometridae and Tortricidae in all habitats, and for Noctuidae (Lepidoptera), Tenthredinidae and Braconidae (Hymenoptera) in forest and orchard sites. As the tits showed preferences for mainly families of Lepidoptera, and Hymenoptera, our approach provides a baseline to support monitoring of these groups

Item Type: Article
Subjects: STM Library > Multidisciplinary
Depositing User: Managing Editor
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2024 05:47
Last Modified: 24 Jan 2024 05:47

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