The pattern of food resource availability and use by Lilac-crowned Parrots (Amazona finschi) was evaluated in tropical dry forest of the Reserva de la Biosfera Chamela-Cuixmala, western Mexico. Monthly fruiting phenology transects were conducted throughout the year in deciduous and semi-deciduous forest to determine temporal and spatial variability in resource abundance. Resource use by parrots was evaluated through observations of diet and habitat use. There was significant temporal and spatial variability in food resource abundance, with semi-deciduous forest providing greater food resources for parrots during the dry season, whereas food resource abundance increased in deciduous forest during the rainy season. The critical period of food resource scarcity occurred during May–June at the end of the long dry season. Lilac-crowned Parrots were pre-dispersal seed predators, and exhibited high flexibility in diet, incorporating dietary switching, as well as niche-breadth contraction and expansion, which corresponded with temporal variations in food resource availability. There was low overlap in parrot diets between seasons, with parrots exhibiting a narrow food niche-breadth during the late dry season when resource availability declined. Parrots also demonstrated spatial variation in habitat use, corresponding to fluctuations in the availability of food resources in different habitats. This flexibility in foraging enables parrots to closely track and exploit seed resources which exhibit high temporal and spatial variability in abundance.
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Vol. 103 • No. 1