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Eucalyptus pollen grain emptying by two Australian nectarivorous psittacines


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Gartrell, BD and Jones, SM 2001 , 'Eucalyptus pollen grain emptying by two Australian nectarivorous psittacines' , Journal of Avian Biology, vol. 32, no. 3 , pp. 224-230 , doi: 10.1111/j.0908-8857.2001.320304.x.

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The relative importance of pollen as a source of protein to vertebrates is controversial.
In nectarivorous psittacine birds, field studies support its importance, but an
experimental study in a nectarivorous parrot showed that less than 7% of pollen
grains were emptied. We investigated pollen grain emptying by two nectarivorous
Australian parrots, the Swift Parrot Lathamus discolor and the Musk Lorikeet
Glossopsitta concinna. We used a controlled experiment, and examined pollen located
at different levels through the alimentary tract of wild L. discolor. There was
significant emptying of pollen grains (x¯=45.4%1.91 s.e.) by all birds in the
experimental trials. There was also a progressive increase in the percentage of pollen
grains emptied at different sites along the alimentary tract in wild birds (crop
x¯=24.2%4.44 s.e., proventriculus x¯=34.0%7.29 s.e., duodenum x¯=54.3%
5.42 s.e. and distal intestine x¯=64.2%4.68 s.e.). The percentage of pollen grains
emptied by captive L. discolor in the experimental trial (x¯=44.1%2.77 s.e.) was
not significantly different from that found in wild L. discolor (x¯=40.3%4.25 s.e.).
Both species of nectarivorous parrot were able to rapidly ingest large quantities of
Eucalyptus pollen and appeared to empty the pollen grains efficiently. Eucalyptus
pollen appears to be an important source of protein for these birds.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Gartrell, BD and Jones, SM
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Avian Biology
DOI / ID Number: 10.1111/j.0908-8857.2001.320304.x
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