AVIS-IBIS

Birds of Indian Subcontinent

Nectar feeding by weavers (Ploceidae) and their role as pollinators

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2014
Authors:Craig, AJFK
Journal:Ostrich
Volume:85
Issue:1
Date Published:2014
ISBN Number:0030-6525
Keywords:Amblyospiza, Amblyospiza albifrons, Anaplectes, Anaplectes rubriceps, Passeridae, Ploceidae, Plocepasser, Plocepasser superciliosus
Abstract:Reviews of nectar-feeding by birds initially focused on specialist nectarivores and ignored the role that more generalist feeders may play in plant pollination. Recent work has emphasised the range of bird species, both specialist and opportunistic, that feed on nectar. In this review, I collate published information on nectar-feeding by weavers, highlight known weaver?plant relationships, and suggest areas for future research. There are published records of nectar feeding for Plocepasser superciliosus, Amblyospiza albifrons, Anaplectes rubriceps, two Quelea spp., four Euplectes spp., all six Foudia spp., two Malimbus spp. and 22 Ploceus spp. To date, there have been no unambiguous reports of other genera feeding on nectar. The role of Ploceus species as pollinators of Strelitzia reginae, proposed by ornithologists decades ago, has recently been confirmed by botanists. Current studies of Aloe species in South Africa suggest that opportunistic avian nectarivores such as ploceids may be the chief pollinators of bird-pollinated plants in this genus, whereas specialist nectar feeders (sunbirds) may be ?nectar robbers? in many cases. Particularly for winter-flowering plants, weaver species are potential pollinators, but exclusion experiments are needed to establish their role, while the dietary importance of nectar, and its impact on the birds? physiology, has not been critically studied.Reviews of nectar-feeding by birds initially focused on specialist nectarivores and ignored the role that more generalist feeders may play in plant pollination. Recent work has emphasised the range of bird species, both specialist and opportunistic, that feed on nectar. In this review, I collate published information on nectar-feeding by weavers, highlight known weaver?plant relationships, and suggest areas for future research. There are published records of nectar feeding for Plocepasser superciliosus, Amblyospiza albifrons, Anaplectes rubriceps, two Quelea spp., four Euplectes spp., all six Foudia spp., two Malimbus spp. and 22 Ploceus spp. To date, there have been no unambiguous reports of other genera feeding on nectar. The role of Ploceus species as pollinators of Strelitzia reginae, proposed by ornithologists decades ago, has recently been confirmed by botanists. Current studies of Aloe species in South Africa suggest that opportunistic avian nectarivores such as ploceids may be the chief pollinators of bird-pollinated plants in this genus, whereas specialist nectar feeders (sunbirds) may be ?nectar robbers? in many cases. Particularly for winter-flowering plants, weaver species are potential pollinators, but exclusion experiments are needed to establish their role, while the dietary importance of nectar, and its impact on the birds? physiology, has not been critically studied.
URL:http://dx.doi.org/10.2989/00306525.2014.900828
Short Title:Ostrich
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith