Steatornis caripensis

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Scientific Name
Steatornis caripensis
Common Name
Taxa Group
Move Mode

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  • Data package
    Data from: The secret life of oilbirds: new insights into the movement ecology of a unique avian frugivore
    (2012-03-15) Holland, Richard A.; Wikelski, Martin; Kuemmeth, Franz; Bosque, Carlos
    Background: Steatornis caripensis (the oilbird) is a very unusual bird. It supposedly never sees daylight, roosting in huge aggregations in caves during the day and bringing back fruit to the cave at night. As a consequence a large number of the seeds from the fruit they feed upon germinate in the cave and spoil. Methodology/Principal Findings: Here we use newly developed GPS/acceleration loggers with remote UHF readout to show that several assumptions about the behaviour of Steatornis caripensis need to be revised. On average, they spend only every 3rd day in a cave, individuals spent most days sitting quietly in trees in the rainforest where they regurgitate seeds. Conclusions/Significance: This provides new data on the extent of seed dispersal and the movement ecology of Steatornis caripensis. It suggests that Steatornis caripensis is perhaps the most important long-distance seed disperser in Neotropical forests. We also show that colony-living comes with high activity costs to individuals.