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Data from: Sunbird hovering behavior is determined by both the forager and resource plant


Padyšáková, Eliška; Janeček, Štěpán (2016), Data from: Sunbird hovering behavior is determined by both the forager and resource plant, Dryad, Dataset,


The long-standing paradigm that pollination systems adapted to hovering birds evolved only in the New World was recently challenged by the discovery of hovering pollination by Old World specialized passerine pollinators. This raises the possibility that hovering pollination may evolve more easily than previously believed, given sufficient selective pressure on plant traits, on nectarivory, or both. We observed foraging behavior by the sunbird Cyanomitra oritis at flowers of the native Old World plant Impatiens sakeriana. We measured the length of pedicels and peduncles (PedPed length), which can make the flowers difficult to reach while the bird perches on the stem, and determined if it influenced sunbird hovering or perching at a flower. Detailed analyses of video recordings showed that sunbirds only hovered at flowers with a long PedPed, whereas they employed both foraging modes when an adequate perch was available. A hovering sunbird could deplete nectar in a shorter time than a perching one. The frequency of visits was not greater at flowers with longer PedPed or with more open I. sakeriana flowers in the vicinity. Our study provides evidence that sunbird behavior does not follow simple energetic models, and that some sunbird pollination systems in the Old World resemble highly specialized hummingbird systems in the New World much more than expected, especially the overall adaptation of the system to bird hovering.

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West Africa