Golden-winged Sunbird - Behaviour - Feeding

Feeding

Golden-winged Sunbirds consume the nectar from flowers of the mint Leonotis nepetifolia flowers as their main food source, but they also feed infrequently on other flower species: Aloe graminicola and Leonotis mollissima during the breeding season, and also Crotalaria species including C. agatiflora, Erythrina abyssinica, Fuchsia species, Ipomoea batatas, Jacaranda mimosifolia, Phragmanthera dschallensis and other pea species. The Golden-winged Sunbird also eats insects such as beetles, flies, ants, bees and wasps and various larvae.

Territorial birds, Golden-winged Sunbirds defend patches of Leonotis nepetifolia flowers outside the breeding season in Kenya. This species flowers in July when little else is in flower. The concept of economic defendability, in which the defence of a resource has costs (such as energy expenditure and risk of injury) and benefits (priority access to the resource), explains the territorial behavior that Golden-winged Sunbirds exhibit.

Field studies in Kenya show that the sunbirds live in the highland areas in a geographical distribution similar to that of Leonotis. They are active during the daytime and spend their time sitting on perches, fighting for territorial defence, or foraging for nectar. The energetic costs of each activity the sunbirds exhibit during the day has been calculated. When the daily costs are compared to the extra nectar gained by defending a territory, territorial birds make a net energetic profit. Field studies show that territorial birds need to spend less time per day foraging to meet their daily energy requirements when the flowers contain more nectar. By defending a territory a bird excludes other nectar consumers and, therefore, increases the amount of nectar available in each flower. Sunbirds satisfy their energy demands more rapidly, saving foraging time and allowing them to spend the spare time sitting on perches, which is less energetically expensive than foraging. This saving has to be weighed against the cost of defence, so if there is more than enough nectar in the flowers then it is easier just to share the nectar with other birds. When there is a minimal amount of nectar, possibly due to a bad season, the birds increase their territoriality, except when the nectar levels are too low to support cost of defence.

Usually territories involve only a single resident individual. Occasionally, a female can coexist with a male on a large territory and participate in its defence. Such sharing may relate to a complex prolonged pattern of pair formation. Feeding territories may be defended by all age and sex classes of the Golden-winged Sunbirds, including juveniles. The birds defend their territories both intra-specifically and inter-specifically against all sunbird species in the area. The success of the defence depends in part on the dominance relationships of the intruding individual, where persistent individuals of larger bird species such as the Bronzy Sunbird may feed successfully. Territory sizes vary greatly, ranging from 6.7 to 2300 m2, but each territory contains about the same number of flowers.

Sometimes, when a female Golden-winged Sunbird intrudes on a Bronzy Sunbird's territory, it performs a begging display by quivering its wings and spreading its tail. This causes the Bronzy Sunbird to tolerate the foraging of the Golden-winged Sunbird in its territory. Female sunbirds spread their feet apart on the stalk of a Leonotis plant and turn their bodies 90° to the stalk and fan their tail feathers to varying degrees.

Read more about this topic:  Golden-winged Sunbird, Behaviour

Other articles related to "feeding":

Mark 8 - Feeding of The 4000 and The Healing of The Blind Man At Bethsaida
... See also Feeding the multitude and The Blind Man of Bethsaida Like Mark 630-44 Mark 8 describes Jesus feeding a large crowd with hardly any food at all. 1529-39 but neither Luke nor John have this, yet both record the preceding feeding of the 5000 ... Luke goes right from the feeding of the 5000 to Peter's confession in Luke 9 ...
Barau's Petrel - Behaviour - Feeding
... The petrels are highly pelagic at sea, preying on small fish (10cm) by surface-seizing and plunge diving ... They will associate with other species while feeding ...
Mantled Howler - Behavior - Locomotion
... Most of the active period is spent feeding, with only about 4% of the day spent on social interaction ... tail to grasp a branch when sleeping, resting or when feeding ... howler reuses travel routes to known feeding and resting sites, and appears to remember and use particular landmarks to help pick direct routes to its destination ...
Gleaning (birds)
... Gleaning is a term for a feeding strategy by birds in which they catch invertebrate prey, mainly arthropods, by plucking them from foliage or the ground ... Gleaning is a common feeding strategy for some groups of birds, including nuthatches, tits (including chickadees), wrens, woodcreepers, treecreepers, Old World ... Many birds make use of multiple feeding strategies, depending on the availability of different sources of food and opportunities of the moment ...
Ctenophore - Description - Common Features - Feeding, Excretion and Respiration
... Little is known about how ctenophores get rid of waste products produced by the cells ... The ciliary rosettes in the gastrodermis may help to remove wastes from the mesoglea, and may also help to adjust the animal's buoyancy by pumping water into or out of the mesoglea ...

Famous quotes containing the word feeding:

    There are times when parenthood seems nothing but feeding the mouth that bites you.
    Peter De Vries (b. 1910)

    The will to domination is a ravenous beast. There are never enough warm bodies to satiate its monstrous hunger. Once alive, this beast grows and grows, feeding on all the life around it, scouring the earth to find new sources of nourishment. This beast lives in each man who battens on female servitude.
    Andrea Dworkin (b. 1946)

    How did you feel feeding doughnuts to a horse? Had a kick out of it, huh? Got a big laugh. Did you ever think of feeding doughnuts to a human being? No!
    Robert Riskin (1897–1955)