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Ecology and phylogeny of birds foraging at outdoor restaurants in Sweden
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics.
2015 (English)In: Biodiversity Data Journal, ISSN 1314-2836, E-ISSN 1314-2828, Vol. 3, e6360Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Birds frequently visit the outdoor serving areas of restaurants to feed on scraps of food and leftovers. Although this feeding association between humans and birds is widespread and could have significant effects, both positive and negative, for all taxa involved, the authors know of no published studies that have investigated restaurant bird communities. To lay the foundation for future research, the authors conducted a basic study of birds at 80 outdoor restaurants in Sweden, identifying which species and taxonomic clades of birds visited the restaurants and comparing restaurant birds in urban and rural environments. New information: Thirteen species of birds visited the outdoor restaurants. Eight of these species were predominant, i.e. accounting for 51% or more of bird presence (sum of minutes of all individual birds) at one or more restaurants. Every restaurant studied had a predominant species, but species often differed from each other in frequency of predominance in different landscapes. No endangered species were seen visiting restaurants. However, three farmland bird species (House Sparrow Passer domesticus, White Wagtail Motacilla alba, Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus), whose numbers are reported to be declining in the countryside, were predominant at the majority of restaurants in rural areas, suggesting that rural restaurants might be able to contribute to the conservation of these species. The thirteen species of restaurant-visiting birds belonged to five monophyletic clades. Ninety percent of all restaurants had, as their predominant species, birds from either Clade A (Passeridae, Motacillidae, Fringillidae) or Clade C (Corvidae). Statistical testing revealed that Clade A and Clade C were distributed differently in environments along the urban-rural gradient. At all spatial scales measured, birds of Clade C were predominant at the majority of restaurants in urban areas, while birds of Clade A were the predominant clade at the majority of restaurants in rural areas. The authors use this evidence, and observations of birds foraging in association with other primates, to hypothesize that the outdoor serving areas of modern restaurants may be helping to preserve and nurture ancient human-bird symbioses that have been part of human ecology since antiquity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Pensoft Publishers, 2015. Vol. 3, e6360
Keyword [en]
Birds, cafés, conservation, ecology, ecophylogenetics, feeding associations, foraging associations, landscapes, restaurants, rural environments, urban environments
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-116915DOI: 10.3897/BDJ.3.e6360OAI: diva2:903381
Available from: 2016-02-15 Created: 2016-02-15 Last updated: 2016-02-29Bibliographically approved

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Sjöstedt de Luna, Sara
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