Weaver news

PAPER: Fruit eating weavers

2014-10-06 (578)

Kissling WD, Rahbek C, Bohning-Gaese K. 2007. Food plant diversity as broad-scale determinant of avian frugivore richness. Proceedings of the Royal Society 274:799-808.

Weyns's Weaver, the only weaver
that is an obligate frugivore
Abstract. The causes of variation in animal species richness at large spatial scales are intensively debated. Here, we examine whether the diversity of food plants, contemporary climate and energy, or habitat heterogeneity determine species richness patterns of avian frugivores across sub-Saharan Africa. Path models indicate that species richness of Ficus (their fruits being one of the major food resources for frugivores in the tropics) has the strongest direct effect on richness of avian frugivores, whereas the influences of variables related to water–energy and habitat heterogeneity are mainly indirect. The importance of Ficus richness for richness of avian frugivores diminishes with decreasing specialization of birds on fruit eating, but is retained when accounting for spatial autocorrelation. We suggest that a positive relationship between food plant and frugivore species richness could result from niche assembly mechanisms (e.g. coevolutionary adaptations to fruit size, fruit colour or vertical stratification of fruit presentation) or, alternatively, from stochastic speciation-extinction processes. In any case, the close relationship between species richness of Ficus and avian frugivores suggests that figs are keystone resources for animal consumers, even at continental scales.

This study lists 36 weavers as fruit eaters (in Appendix S2).

Obligate frugivores - the only major food item are fruits:
Weyns's Weaver Ploceus weynsi

Partial frugivores - other major food items besides fruits, e.g., terrestrial invertebrates:
Thick-billed Weaver Amblyospiza albifrons
Red-headed Weaver Anaplectes rubriceps
White-billed Buffalo-Weaver Bubalornis albirostris
Rufous-tailed Weaver Histurgops ruficauda
Ibadan Malimbe Malimbus ibadanensis
Maxwell's Black Weaver Ploceus albinucha
Orange Weaver Ploceus aurantius
Golden-naped Weaver Ploceus aureonucha
Dark-backed Weaver Ploceus bicolor
Village Weaver Ploceus cucullatus
Clarke's Weaver Ploceus golandi
Brown-capped Weaver Ploceus insignis
Yellow-mantled Weaver Ploceus tricolor
Southern Masked Weaver Ploceus velatus
Holub's Golden Weaver Ploceus xanthops

Opportunistic fruit-eaters - fruits only as minor food items:
Red-billed Buffalo-Weaver Bubalornis niger
White-headed Buffalo-Weaver Dinemellia dinemelli
Red-collared Widowbird Euplectes ardens
Hartlaub's Marsh Widowbird Euplectes hartlaubi
Cassin's Malimbe Malimbus cassini
Red-bellied Malimbe Malimbus erythrogaster
Crested Malimbe Malimbus malimbicus
Blue-billed Malimbe Malimbus nitens
Red-headed Malimbe Malimbus rubricollis
Sociable Weaver Philetairus socius
Strange Weaver Ploceus alienus
Baglafecht Weaver Ploceus baglafecht
Cape Weaver Ploceus capensis
Heuglin's Masked Weaver Ploceus heuglini
Lesser Masked Weaver Ploceus intermedius
Black-billed Weaver Ploceus melanogaster
Vieillot's Black Weaver Ploceus nigerrimus
Black-necked Weaver Ploceus nigricollis
Spectacled Weaver Ploceus ocularis
Preuss's Weaver Ploceus preussi

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