Experimental analysis of diet specialization in the snail kite: the role of behavioral conservatism

@article{Beissinger2004ExperimentalAO,
  title={Experimental analysis of diet specialization in the snail kite: the role of behavioral conservatism},
  author={Steven R. Beissinger and Timothy J. Donnay and R. Walton},
  journal={Oecologia},
  year={2004},
  volume={100},
  pages={54-65}
}
We examined factors maintaining extreme diet specialization in the snail kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis), a medium-sized hawk which feed almost exclusively on Pomacea snails, by determining why during some months kites eat crabs (Dilocarcinus dentatus) in the Ilanos of Venezuela. We offered snails and crabs of different sizes to wild free-flying birds to develop estimates for a prey choice model. Handling times of Pomacea doliodes snails averaged 90±39 s and were positively correlated with snail… Expand
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