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Food habits of the southwestern willow flycatcher during the nesting season

January 1, 2003

The food habits and prey base of the endangered Southwestern Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus) are not well known. We analyzed prey remains in 59 fecal samples from an intensively-studied population of this flycatcher at the Kern River Preserve in southern California. These samples were collected during the nesting season in 1996 and 1997 from adults caught in mist nets, and from nestlings temporarily removed from the nest for banding. A total of 379 prey individuals were identified in the samples. Dominant prey taxa, both in total numbers and in percent occurrence, were true bugs (Hemiptera), flies (Diptera), and beetles (Coleoptera). Leafhoppers (Homoptera: Cicadellidae), spiders (Araneae), bees and wasps (Hymenoptera), and dragonflies and damselflies (Odonata) were also common items. Diet composition was significantly different between years, due to a large difference in the numbers of spiders between 1996 and 1997. There was also a significant difference between the diet of young and adults, with the diet of young birds having significantly higher numbers of odonates and beetles. There was a trend toward diet differences between males and females, but this was not significant at the P = 0.05 level.

Publication Year 2003
Title Food habits of the southwestern willow flycatcher during the nesting season
Authors Charles A. Drost, Eben H. Paxton, Mark K. Sogge, Mary J. Whitfield
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Studies in Avian Biology
Index ID 70194305
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center