Parrots are known to be frugivores but also exploit many other food items that the forest provides. As more pristine rainforest is deforested, modified landscapes may be important for parrot communities. In this study I assessed the abundance of parrot species in secondary forest at two sites in Tambopata, Peru, and documented important food resources for the parrot community as a whole and for individual species. Variable line transects were performed in primary and secondary forest in order to calculate density estimates using DISTANCE. This was then related to foraging observations which were recorded during census walks and opportunistic events. Habitat variables were also recorded in order to study habitat associations and were analysed using Principal Component Analysis. The parrot community in secondary forest was dominated by smaller bodied parrot species (e.g. Cobalt-winged parakeets Brotogeris cyanoptera and Black-capped parakeets Pyrrhura rupicola) whereas larger bodied parrots (e.g. Scarlet macaws Ara macao and Mealy parrots Amazona farinosa) were associated with primary forest. Parrots (mainly parakeets and A. severa) heavily consumed flowers of Ochroma pyramidale and Cecropia peltata and may be potential tree pollinators. The data presented here indicate that secondary forest holds important, albeit seasonally available, food resources and attracts a significant parrot population. Although, high levels of density estimates and foraging events may be linked to seasonality. Therefore, future conservation practices should not just include pristine forest but also modified secondary forest.
The Blue-and-gold Macaw is a stunning bird that is well known in the pet trade. It is found in the wild from Panama to eastern Brazil and Bolivia. While not formally endangered, it is declining in most parts of its range due to habitat loss and poaching for the pet trade. In many areas, the species is closely tied to the presence of palm swamps dominated by Mauritia flexuosa (Aguaje) palms. The birds eat the fruit and nest in the hollow dead palms. However, this palm tree is also threatened, as people commonly cut down the entire palm to harvest the edible fruits. The Blue-and-gold Macaw is a common site at the clay lick and in the palm swamps near Tambopata Research Center (TRC). In this report I will present information from my work at TRC on how the annual patterns of food supply apparently drive the timing of breeding and the movements of the birds, and how these drive the fluctuations in clay lick use. I will describe the creation of a Blue-and-gold nesting colony near TRC by mimicking naturally dieing sections of palm swamp. I will also discuss how ecotourism and nesting macaws can combine to help conserve valuable tropical forest areas.
Contact calls may function in various types of behaviour. Here it is examined how contact calls function in anti-predatory behaviour in fifteen species of Psittacinea in the Tambopata National Reserve in South-Eastern Peru. This is a family of birds consisting of Macaws, Parrots, and Parakeets. Contact calls may function against predation by creating a vocal connection between individual members in a group. This vocal connection creates group cohesion, thereby keeping group members close together and protecting them against predators.
If contact calls indeed create group cohesion as a tool against predation, it is expected that they are heard more often in birds that are more vulnerable against predation. Therefore, it is expected that Psittacinae have a higher contact call frequency when they are flying compared to when they are perched, as flying birds are more visible to predators than those perched in the vegetation. And small species have a higher contact call frequency than large species, as small species are more vulnerable to predation due to their size. Additionally, contact call frequency is expected to depend on group size, if big groups need to call more to stay together than small groups. Furthermore group size may depend on the size of a species, if small vulnerable species stay in bigger groups for predator protection than large, less vulnerable species.
It was found that Psittacinae call more during flight compared to when they are perched and that small species call more than large species. It was furthermore found that individual birds within a group call less as group size increases. It was not found that group size depends on the size of a species. Overall, the results presented here suggest that contact calls have an important role in anti-predatory behaviour in the fifteen species of Psittacinea studied here, by creating cohesion in a group.