Generalist birds are thought to be less neophobic than specialists, but the dietary difference is often confounded by differences in experience and food availability. We conducted field tests with an artificial nectar source on a foraging generalist [Lesser-Antillean Bullfinch (Loxigilla noctis)] and a nectarivorous specialist [Bananaquit (Coereba flaveola)] in Barbados. Both species are equally opportunistic and tame on this island. Bullfinches arrived first at the feeding stations and showed a shorter latency to feed in the tests than did Bananaquits, suggesting that differences in specialization lead to the differences in neophobia predicted by ecological plasticity.
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Vol. 112 • No. 3