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Observations of Birds Feeding in Gumbo Limbo and Huevos de Caballo in Costa Rica
  • Craig Leslie Jackson
Craig Leslie Jackson

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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A study of bird frugivory in Desamparaditos de Puriscal in Costa Rica in 2021 showed the importance of two tropical trees, Gumbo Limbo (Bursera simaruba) and Huevos de Caballo (the common Spanish name of Tabernaemontana donnell-smithii) within habited areas. The study also focused on which species fed on lipid-rich fruits and which fed on lipid-poor fruits — Gumbo Limbo fruits are lipid-poor, whereas Huevos de Caballo “fruits” are lipid-rich — and whether the feeding choices of various birds in this community would reflect the distinction in lipid content. The study was done during the beginning of the rainy season, and compared with a recent analysis of bird frugivory studies. Results showed numerous similarities regarding the birds feeding on Gumbo Limbo, but more differences were found for the birds feeding on Huevos de Caballo. Most significant was that a number of species were observed feeding on both of these fruits that had not been observed in the other studies. Additionally, the study indicated that both trees might be important nutritional sources for young birds. A follow-up study was conducted in 2022. That study showed more feeding by some species on Gumbo Limbo fruits, and demonstrated the importance of Gumbo Limbo for these species during the late dry season. The 2022 study began on 26 January and ended on 7 March, the date when the 2021 study began. Data from 2022 (summarized in Appendices 3 and 3A) will not be fully analyzed, but may be referred to in the discussion.