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Southeastern Brazilian tyrannulets as flower watchers

Edwin O'Neill Willis, Glayson Ariel Bencke


Several species of insect-eating birds occasionally visit flowering trees or shrubs to feed on arthropods at flowers instead of nectar or petals. In southeastern Brazil, the Planalto Tyrannulet Phyllomyias fasciatus (10.3 g) and the Gray-headed Tody- Flycatcher Todirostrum poliocephalum (7 g) often watch flowers to get insects and can visit flowering trees for hours or for several days. We describe the foraging behavior of these two tyrannulets at flowering trees and also report observations on several other species, mostly tyrant-flycatchers and tanagers. As an opportunistic foraging strategy, flower watching can be expected to be more common among small, canopy or edge birds that sally or hover-glean to catch small insects on or near foliage.

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