Study

Nectar sugar preferences and absorption in a generalist African frugivore, the cape white-eye Zosterops pallidus

  • Published source details Franke E., Jackson S. & Nicolson S. (1998) Nectar sugar preferences and absorption in a generalist African frugivore, the cape white-eye Zosterops pallidus. Ibis, 140, 501-506.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Provide supplementary food for nectar-feeding songbirds to increase adult survival

Action Link
Bird Conservation
  1. Provide supplementary food for nectar-feeding songbirds to increase adult survival

    A randomised, replicated ex situ choice experiment in South Africa in 1996 (Franke et al. 1998) found that 24 pale (Cape) white-eyes Zosterops pallidus tested over 12 days preferentially fed on 20% sucrose solution (measured by weight), compared to 20% glucose or fructose solutions. There were no differences between single sugars and a mix of glucose and fructose. Twenty one birds also rejected solutions containing the other sugars if they were mixed with xylose (a sugar isolated from some nectars), with the amount of solution consumed decreasing as xylose concentration increased. Birds appeared to be able to absorb sucrose, glucose and fructose very efficiently (absorbing 97.6-99.9%) but were less able to absorb xylose (averaging 61% absorption). Solutions were provided in 25 ml pipettes with a 5 mm hole in the top.

     

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