We investigated if there are aspects of perches that are more attractive for hummingbirds, such as perch height, diameter, and distance from a food patch. The study was conducted in a fragment of Atlantic Forest of the Itacolomi State Park, in Minas Gerais, Brazil, with artificial feeders simulating a rich food patch. Characteristics of perches used by the recorded hummingbirds, such as height, diameter and distance from the food patch, were measured. From the six hummingbird species recorded visiting the artificial feeders, two preferentially used perches with certain characteristics: Thalurania glaucopis used more perches at a height of 0.51–1.0 m (intermediary high), and Leucochloris albicollis used more perches located 1.1–2.0 m distance from the food patch. T. glaucopis was territorial and defended the food patch; L. albicollis was subordinate and did not defend the food patch. The other species seemed to use perches randomly. Our results suggest that hummingbirds used perches according to their social status. Territorial species use perches primarily as platforms for defense and observation of the territory, as well as places of rest between feeding events; subordinate species use perches mainly as resting places during feeding bouts in the absence of the dominant species.
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Vol. 128 • No. 2