New Zealand Journal of Ecology (1994) 18(2): 87- 107

Foods and Foraging of Forest Birds in Temperate Rainforest, South Westland, New Zealand

Research Article
Colin F. J. O'Donnell  
Peter J. Dilks  
  1. Science and Research Division, Department of Conservation, Private Bag, Christchurch, New Zealand
*  Corresponding author

Habitat use of a forest bird community was studied in temperate rainforests in South Westland, New Zealand between 1983 and 1985. This paper examines foraging methods, feeding stations and seasonal variations in the availability and use of food types and provides a brief review of the subject. The forest bird community was comprised of a large number of apparently generalist feeders and few dietary specialists. However, the degree of foraging specialisation should not be viewed only in relation to the food types consumed. The 18 species studied differed from each other in the number of plant species used, their preferred feeding stations and method of feeding. Most importantly, the omnivorous birds exhibited varying degrees of sequential specialisation in their diets as they switched between specific food sources from season to season. The information on foraging provides the first step towards predicting the impacts of logging important food trees.