To evaluate bird use of a widespread matrix habitat in forested landscapes of western Uganda, I used mist nets to compare bird communities in the understory of continuous forest and adjacent banana plantations. Frugivorous and insectivorous birds accounted for a higher proportion of captures in the forest habitat than in banana plantations, whereas nectarivores were more common in banana plantations. For the western olive sunbird Cyanomitra obscura, a nectarivore that uses both forest and banana plantation habitats, I used demographics, body condition, and correlates of male dominance to evaluate habitat quality. The sex ratios from the banana plantation and forest samples were not significantly different, nor was there any difference in body size, condition, or male badge size between the forest and banana plantations. These results suggest that banana plantations may provide suitable habitat for some nectarivores, but are of limited value for small birds that eat invertebrates and fruit.
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Vol. 98 • No. 2