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1 December 2001 The Behavior and Interactions of Birds Visiting Erythrina fusca Flowers in the Colombian Amazon
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I observed 22 species of birds visiting flowering Erythrina fusca trees at Matamatá, Amazonas, Colombia. The large orange flowers of E. fusca are adapted for pollination by birds and are protected from illegitimate visits by a petal that covers the nectaries and anthers until displaced by a foraging bird. Experiments with flowers bagged to exclude potential pollinators demonstrated that the flowers do not open without assistance. At Matamatá, parrots are the most frequent visitors to flowering E. fusca, and two species, Dusky-headed Parakeet (Aratinga weddellii) and Cobalt-winged Parakeet (Brotogeris cyanoptera), appear to be the main pollinators. This is only the fourth report of Neotropical parrots acting as pollinating agents. At least five other parrot species fed on the nectar or flowers of E. fusca but destroyed the flowers in the process. Orange-backed Troupials (Icterus jamacaii) were the only other species observed opening E. fusca flowers nondestructively and are likely to be pollinators. Hummingbirds were common visitors to E. fusca flowers and some species were found to carry E. fusca pollen; however, hummingbirds were unable to open the flowers themselves and relied on other visitors to open the flowers for them. The number of hummingbird visits to a flowering E. fusca tree was positively correlated with the number of visits by parrots and icterids, but not with the number of mature flowers, indicating that legitimate visitors facilitate access by hummingbirds.

Peter A. Cotton "The Behavior and Interactions of Birds Visiting Erythrina fusca Flowers in the Colombian Amazon," BIOTROPICA 33(4), 662-669, (1 December 2001).[0662:TBAIOB]2.0.CO;2
Published: 1 December 2001

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