Spatial effects of artificial feeders on hummingbird abundance, floral visitation and pollen deposition

Jesper Sonne, Peter Kyvsgaard, Pietro Kiyoshi Maruyama, Jeferson Vizentin-Bugoni, Jeff Ollerton, Marlies Sazima, Carsten Rahbek, Bo Dalsgaard

    Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapterpeer-review


    Providing hummingbirds with artificial feeders containing sugar solution is common practice throughout the Americas. Although feeders can affect hummingbird foraging behavior and abundance, it is poorly understood how far this effect may extend. Moreover, it remains debated whether nectar-feeders have a negative impact on hummingbird-pollinated plants by reducing flower visita- tion rates and pollen transfer close to the feeders. Here, we investigated the effects of distance to nectar-feeders on a local hummingbird assemblage and the pollination of Psychotria nuda (Rubiaceae), a hummingbird-pollinated plant endemic to the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest. At increasing distance (0–1000 m) from a feeding-station, where hummingbirds have been fed continuously for the past 13 years, we quantified hummingbird abundance, and rates of flower visitation and pollen deposition on P. nuda. We found that hummingbird abundance was unrelated to distance from the feeders beyond ca. 75 m, but increased steeply closer to the feeders; the only exception was the small hummingbird Phaethornis ruber, which remained absent from the feeders. Plants of P. nuda within ca.125 m from the feeders received increasingly more visits, coin- ciding with the higher hummingbird abundance, whereas visitation rate beyond 125 m showed no distance-related trend. Despite this, pollen deposition was not associated with distance from the feeders. Our findings illustrate that artificial nectar-feeders may locally increase hummingbird abundance, and possibly affect species composition and pollination redundancy, without necessarily having a disruptive effect on pollination services and plants’ reproductive fitness. This may apply not only to hummingbirds, but also to other animal pollinators.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationJournal of Ornithology
    PublisherSpringer Verlag
    Number of pages9
    ISBN (Print)2193-7192
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016

    Publication series

    NameJournal of Ornithology


    • Artificial feeding
    • Atlantic Rainforest
    • Hummingbirds
    • Mutualistic interactions
    • Pollination
    • Psychotria nuda
    • Rubiacea


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