We observed territorial Purple-throated Caribs (Eulampis jugularis) on three Heliconia morphs (H. caribaea and the red-green and green morphs of H. bihai) on the island of St. Lucia, West Indies, to examine how calculated costs and benefits compared with observed patterns of Heliconia use. Across the three years of our study, H. caribaea territories defended by Purple-throated Carib males were significantly smaller in area and had higher densities of flowers than red-green H. bihai territories, and both kinds of Heliconia territories defended by males were smaller and had higher densities of flowers than the green H. bihai territory maintained by a female. In the period (0630 to 1400 hours) during which birds maintained territories, total maintenance costs were more than met by energy obtained from territories, but only 2 of 13 territories provided sufficient nectar to meet birds' energy requirements for 24 h. Birds supplemented their energy intake from Heliconia territories by foraging at flowers in the rainforest canopy, and the percentage of time a territorial bird spent foraging in the canopy was inversely correlated with energy production on its Heliconia territory. The smaller territory areas and higher flower densities of H. caribaea territories lowered males' foraging time and energy costs per flower on H. caribaea as compared with red-green H. bihai territories, theoretically allowing them to meet their energy demands in less time and at lower cost. Males' estimated foraging time and energy costs were greatest at the green morph of H. bihai; compared with females, they would save a higher proportion of time and energy by foraging at H. caribaea and the red-green morph of H. bihai. That asymmetry between males and females in relative gains from foraging at each of the three Heliconia morphs may further reinforce resource partitioning between them, in addition to differences in size and fighting abilities.
Economía de Forrajeo y Territorialidad en la Especie Sexualmente Dimórfica Eulampis jugularis en Tres Formas de Heliconia