Aspects of the foraging niche of Great Tits Parus major, Blue Tits Parus caeruleus and Long-tailed Tits Aegithalos caudatus in a mediterranean wood

Fraticelli F. & Guerrieri M.



Abstract:

Relationships between the foraging niches of Great Tits, Blue Tits and Long-tailed Tits in a mediterranean wood were studied throughout the course of a whole year. Heterospecific flocks were not observed. The three species showed a marked preference for deciduous oaks while feeding. The Great Tit feeds preferentially on the ground during almost the entire year; only in spring does its preference for trees increase. When feeding on trees, it shows no preference for site. It prefers branches of medium size, except in spring when it prefers small sized branches. During its foraging activity, the Blue Tit dislikes the ground and concentrates on the outermost edges of trees, on the middle and outer parts of branches; the preferred branches are small. The Long-tailed Tit feeds almost exclusively from trees, except in spring when it feeds also from bushes. The localization and the diameter of the trees preferred by Long-tailed and Blue Tits are very similar, except in spring when the Long-tailed Tit goes to lower branches and uses medium sized branches. We conclude that the Blue and Long-tailed Tits overlap widely, while the Great Tit has a low overlap with the other two species.