Ecological and evolutionary implications of digestive processes: Bird preferences and the sugar constituents of floral nectar and fruit pulp

  title={Ecological and evolutionary implications of digestive processes: Bird preferences and the sugar constituents of floral nectar and fruit pulp},
  author={Carlos Mart{\'i}nez del Rio and Herbert George Baker and Irene Baker},
Plants pollinated and dispersed by different groups of birds offer different kinds of sugars in nectar and fruit pulp. The preferences and physiological traits of avian pollinators and seed dispersers are broadly correlated with the sugar composition of the nectar and fruit that they feed on and appear to have influenced the evolution of the sugar composition of the rewards that plants offer. Hummingbirds prefer sucrose whereas many nectar- and fruit-eating passerines prefer glucose and… 

Sugar Preferences in Nectar‐ and Fruit‐Eating Birds: Behavioral Patterns and Physiological Causes 1

It is suggested that preferences for different sugar compositions are concentration‐dependent, as recent studies on several unrelated nectar‐feeding birds have found a distinct switch from hexose preference at low concentrations to sucrose preference at higher concentrations.

Sugar preferences and digestive efficiency of the village weaver: a generalist avian pollinator of African plants

Results indicate that hexose preferences in generalist avian nectarivores may help explain the low sucrose content in flowers pollinated by these birds.

Nectar as food for birds: the physiological consequences of drinking dilute sugar solutions

It is examined the constituents of nectar which are most important to bird consumers, and how the birds deal with them in terms of physiology and behaviour, and the dichotomy between sucrose-rich and hexose-rich nectars in hummingbird-pollinated plants appears to have little to do with bird physiologies.

Intake Responses in Nectar Feeding Birds: Digestive and Metabolic Causes, Osmoregulatory Consequences, and Coevolutionary Effects1

It is hypothesized that the diminishing returns in floral attractivity that may result from increased nectar concentration may be one of the reasons why the nectars of hummingbird pollinated flowers are dilute in spite of the preference of birds for higher concentrations.

Pollinator type and secondarily climate are related to nectar sugar composition across the angiosperms

Nectar sugar composition shows high evolutionary lability and its variation reflects plant-pollinator associations, and is mainly related to pollinator type and secondarily to climate.

Evolutionary changes in nectar sugar composition associated with switches between bird and insect pollination: the Canarian bird‐flower element revisited

Nectar characteristics may have evolved readily, perhaps in response to opportunistically nectarivorous birds living in the Canary Islands, according to researchers who investigated evolutionary changes in nectar sugar composition in seven Canarian lineages of ornithophilous plant species and their entomophILous relatives.

What Do Nectarivorous Bats Like? Nectar Composition in Bromeliaceae With Special Emphasis on Bat-Pollinated Species

Floral nectar is the most important reward for pollinators and an integral component of the pollination syndrome. Nectar research has mainly focused on sugars or amino acids, whereas more

Nectar preferences of specialist and occasional avian nectarivores, and their role in the evolution of floral traits.

The aim of this thesis was to determine if these trends can be explained by the nectar preferences of avian nectarivores, and to determine whether the generalist-specialist dichotomy can be applied to Kniphofia, a largely bird-pollinated African plant genus.

Sugar preferences, absorption efficiency and water influx in a Neotropical nectarivorous passerine, the Bananaquit (Coereba flaveola).

  • A. MataC. Bosque
  • Biology, Medicine
    Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part A, Molecular & integrative physiology
  • 2004



Ecological and behavioral consequences of digestion in frugivorous animals

The postingestional effect of seed size and mass and nutrient composition on fruit profitability are reviewed. It is emphasized that profitability results from the interaction between fruit

Sugar preferences in hummingbirds : the influence of subtle chemical differences on food choice

The hypothesis that sugar preferences and nectar composition are correlated with differences in the efficiency with which hummingbirds assimilated different sugars and/or in the time they required to process these sugars in the digestive system was tested.

Digestion Strategies in Nectar- and Fruit-Eating Birds and the Sugar Composition of Plant Rewards

It is suggested that the digestive physiology of birds will be a necessary component in an evolutionary explanation of the patterns of sugar distribution in nectars and fruit pulps.

Digestive System Trade-offs and Adaptations of Frugivorous Passerine Birds

It appears that the anatomy and physiology of fruit eaters result in less than complete digestion and absorption of sugars, which may lie in the ability of frugivores to process large amounts of fruitper unit time in spite of the constraint gut volume might place on fruit intake.

Sugar concentrations in nectar from hummingbird flowers

It is clear that no statistically significant differences are to be seen between the sugar concentrations of the different flower pollination types in coastal southeast Jamaica, and, if anything, the hummingbird flowers occupy a belowaverage position.


Morphological correlates of seed dispersers suggest that adaptatlons for insectivory serve as preadaptations for feeding on whole fru~ts, and unapparent adaptations ofseed dispersers to plants are as relevant as the more conspicuous structural adaptations reported for year-round fruglvores.

Evolutionary Implications of Fruit-Processing Limitations in Cedar Waxwings

It is proposed that rapid seed processing has influenced pulp composition and seed-packaging traits, and the link between rapid passage of small seeds and pulp through the intestine may help explain why fleshy fruits are high in simple sugars and free amino acids.

Seed Size and Fruit-Handling Techniques of Avian Frugivores

  • D. Levey
  • Biology
    The American Naturalist
  • 1987
Plants may respond evolutionarily to the differences in the seed-dispersal probability of mashers and gulpers through different fruit presentation methods, shifted fruiting seasons, seed size, and pericarp texture.

Birds as pollinators of Australian plants

Abstract Over one hundred species of birds have been seen visiting the flowers of some 250 species of plants in Australia. Honeyeaters and lorikeets are the most persistent flower-feeders and some

Food Choice and Digestive Strategies of Two Sympatric Primate Species

Critical determinants of dietary choice in animals may be internal rather than external and hence not readily detected by field observation. Digestive strategies of two sympatric primate species,