Pounce site characteristics of the Western Yellow Robin Eopsaltria griseogularis: The importance of assessing foraging microhabitat
The ground ecosystem represents an important foraging substrate for a large number of Australian birds, including the ground-pouncing Western Yellow Robin Eopsaltria griseogularis, The present study examined the foraging locations of E. griseogularis at the "extreme" microhabitat scale, by measuring ground substrate composition in a 300 mm by 300 mm area surrounding pounce sites, as well as habitat features surrounding pounce sites. Ground substrate composition of pounce sites remained relatively unchanged between seasons, and was characterized by a higher mean percentage of leaf litter and logs when compared to random points. The importance of logs was further emphasized by the closer proximity of logs to pounce sites than to random points. Selection of pounce sites in close proximity to logs and with abundant leaf litter reflects the higher abundance of invertebrate prey associated with these microhabitat attributes, although it may also represent a pounce in close proximity to a log utilized as a perch. During the warmer months of autumn, logs and their associated accumulations of leaf litter, provide sufficient moisture to maintain invertebrate prey, a resource diminished in the surrounding desiccated leaf litter. The conservation implications of these findings are discussed, as is the importance of examining foraging microhabitat in ground-foraging birds.
Pacific Conservation Biology
Conservation and Biodiversity