Esmeraldas Woodstar Chaetocercus berlepschi
Version: 1.0 — Published June 4, 2010
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Diet and Foraging
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The foraging behavior of the species has been studied during the last decade. A variety of food items currently are known to be important to the Esmeraldas Woodstar to a greater or lesser degree depending on flowering intensity within its very restricted range (e.g., Becker and López-Lanús 1997, Ágreda 2007, Ágreda 2008, Harris et al. 2009). Exploratory bird surveys carried out in evergreen montane or garúa forest of the Ecological and Communal Reserve of Loma Alta, Sta. Elena province, demonstrated the importance of temporary flower resources of high nectar reward, such as Psychotria sp., to Chaetocercus berlepschi (Becker and López-Lanús 1997). Further observations at high elevation montane forest in contiguous Dos Mangas Communal Reserve demonstrated that densely clumped flower sources blooming over short periods could attract territorial hummingbirds, among which it was a highlight to record C. berlepschi defending patches of red medium-sized flowers of Razisea cf. ericae (Acanthaceae) (see Ágreda 2007). Considering the important temporal association between flower sources and Chaetocercus berlepschi at high elevation mountain forest in the Chongón-Colonche Hills, it was an objective of our research to explore other food associations in other parts of the very rectricted distribution of the species. Such exploration started early in 2007, during the breeding period of that year, when males C. berlepschi were observed visiting the purple flowers of Cornutia mycrocalycina (Verbenaceae) and Palicourea guianensis (Rubiaceae) in a humid low elevational montane forest above 500 m in northern Manabí (see Ágreda 2008). Currently we can confirm a variety of food items that are exploited frequently by the species, such as several edge species like Muntingia calabura (Elaeocarpaceae), Aegiphila alba (Verbenaceae), Trema micrantha (Ulmaceae), Vernonia patens (Compositae), Cedrella odorata (Meliaceae), Vitex gigantea (Verbenaceae), Cordia alliodora (Boraginaceae) and Inga spp. (Mimosaceae) among the most important trees; Mikania sp. (Asteraceae), Acnistus arborescens (Solanaceae) and Citrus reticulata (Rutaceae) among the most important shrubs and Kohleria spicata (Gesneriaceae), Lantana sp. (Verbenaceae), Ipomea cf. carnea (Convolvulaceae), among the most important herbs. All these plants grow at forest border of secondary riparian habitat. As mentioned above, C. berlepschi also is found at high elevation evergreen montane forest feeding upon flowers of Razisea cf. ericae, Psychotria hazenii (Rubiaceae), Kohleria spicata, C. mycrocalycina, P. guianensis and Triplaris cumingiana (Polygonaceae), among others (see Ágreda 2008).