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Avian Foraging Pattern in the Oak Forest of in Central Himalaya: An Ecological Conservation Approach
To understand the foraging pattern of avian community, this study was carried out in 23 oak forest stands of Kumaon region in Central Himalaya. Total 5243 observations were recorded on 64 bird species. 22 species foraged on or near the ground mainly galliformes; Kalij, Koklass, Hill partridge. The tree layers 4-10m and 10m were frequently used by maximum number of bird species while 2-4m tree layer was used by minimum bird species. Within the foraging substrates, foliage was used maximum (36.68%) while ground was used as minimum (7.47%). Among foraging methods, twig glean was used maximum (53%) by birds followed by arboreal granivory (25%), bush glean (21%) and leaf glean (21%) method. Among three dimensions (foraging height, foraging substrate and foraging methods), highest mean niche overlap was found in the foraging height (0.20 ± 0.07) for overall avian community of Kumaon while lowest was in foraging method (0.04 ± 0.02). Of the three dimensions, specialization was more in foraging substrate (48 species) followed by foraging methods (22 species) and foraging height (11 species). Avian species such as Black and Yellow grosbeak, Hill partridge, Koklass emerged as specialists. Specific conservation efforts for protection of habitats should be initiated for the ‘specialists’ birds, as they are very particular for their foraging patterns.
Avian, Kumaon Himalaya, Foraging dimensions, Specialists, Conservation
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