Data from: Resource tracking and its conservation implications for an obligate frugivore (Procnias tricarunculatus, the three-wattled bellbird)
Hamilton, Debra; Singleton, Rhine; Joslin, J. Devereux (2017), Data from: Resource tracking and its conservation implications for an obligate frugivore (Procnias tricarunculatus, the three-wattled bellbird), Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.v75c9
In Monteverde, Costa Rica, the vulnerable Three-wattled Bellbird (Procnias tricarunculatus) feeds primarily upon the fruit of Lauraceae species during its reproductive and post-reproductive seasons. To understand and advance appropriate conservation measures, this study identified the bellbird’s foraging challenges in its search for a temporally and spatially fluctuating resource. Although there are at least 96 species of Lauraceae found in the five life zones of Monteverde, the distinct distributions of tree species both among and within life zones require the bellbirds to track seasonal fruiting across the various zones. In this six-year study, we monitored the fruiting of tree species and bellbird abundance in 24 study plots within its post-reproductive life zone, the Premontane Wet forest, in order to identify preferred bellbird food resources and how the fruiting of these species drives the spatial distribution of the bellbird. Our research revealed phenological patterns of annual, biennial, and triennial fruiting with high levels of fruiting synchrony within several identified key fruit species. Of critical conservation importance is that no single species of Lauraceae produced a consistent food supply for bellbirds each year. Therefore, even within life zones, the bellbird’s survival depends on its mobility to search for and obtain fruit, as well as the availability of fruits of multiple tree species. The conservation implications include focused attention on multiple core areas within given life zones, protection of existing forest and remnant trees, and forest restoration with plantings of multiple tree species. We suspect that other tropical frugivorous species face similar conservation challenges.