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Seasonal changes in the pollen sampled from nectarivorous birds visiting an open forest at Menai, New South Wales


Pollen was sampled from the foreheads of 1 046 individuals of seven honeyeater species which were captured in mist nets in an open woodland near Sydney. Four species of honeyeaters were winter visitors and were present in the site during the period of peak flowering. Pollen of Banksia spp. dominated the sample reflecting the relative abundance of Banksia spp. in the study site. The contribution of different flowering plants to the diet of some species of honeyeater varied throughout the year as expected. This variation resulted from both the seasonal pattern of flowering and the presence or absence of the honeyeater species when different plants were in flower. There is some evidence that both interspecific competition between honeyeater species and the degree of morphological compatibility between flower and bird head shape contributes to the variation in diet.

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