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The diet of the Brown-headed Parrot (Poicephalus cryptoxanthus) in the wild in southern Africa

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There are many reports of Brown-headed Parrots eating various natural foods at certain times of the year, yet no comprehensive account of their annual diet exists. Observational data from 1 360 vehicle-based transects from three sites — two in South Africa and one in Mozambique — indicate that Brown-headed Parrots are opportunistic generalists, utilising at least 16 tree species at Punda Maria (Kruger National Park), of which six species were exclusive to the site. At Pretoriuskop (Kruger National Park), they utilised 17 tree species, of which (again) six were exclusive to the site. However, at certain times of the year, the flowers and fruits of the Natal Mahogany (Trichilia emetica) became a possibly vital component of the parrots' diet. In Mozambique, the parrots were only seen to utilise two tree species for food. Parrots fed on seeds, fruit, flowers and the pods of Acacia spp., as well as on lepidopteran larvae. The number of tree species used declined in spring and early summer (to two or three), rising again in winter, when their daily diet contained up to 11 species.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2006

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