Onto the sense of smell in macaws, amazons and toucans: can they use volatile cues of fruits to make foraging decisions?
EntityUAM. Departamento de Biología
10.1111/1749-4877.12694Integrative Zoology (2022): 1-10
ISSN1749-4869 (print); 1749-4877 (online)
Funded byThe experiments were performed in accordance with the ethical standards of each institution at which the studies were conducted, with Costa Rica animal welfare law n°7451/1994 and with the Spanish Government RD 53/2013
SubjectsAvian olfaction; Bird senses; Frugivorous birds; Psittaciformes; Ramphastids; Scent test; Biología y Biomedicina / Biología
Rights© 2022 The Authors
Esta obra está bajo una licencia de Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial-SinObraDerivada 4.0 Internacional.
Over the past decades, empirical evidence has been accumulated indicating that olfactory information plays a fundamental role in bird life history. Nonetheless, many aspects of avian olfaction remain poorly understood. Our purpose was to broaden the knowledge about the importance of the sense of smell in some neglected bird groups: psittaciformes and ramphastids, and to compare how the response varied between the species. Because of the lack of information about the use of chemical cues for locating food in fruit-eating species, we also aimed to delve into this question. We conducted a 3-choice (water/vinegar/papaya and banana juice) scent test in 5 Costa Rican native species: scarlet macaw (Ara macao), red-lored amazon (Amazona autumnalis), yellow-naped amazon (Amazona auropalliata), keel-billed toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus), and yellow-throated toucan (Ramphastos ambiguus). Results revealed that macaws and toucans allocated significantly more time to interacting with the fruit scent container, indicating that these species can perceive the volatile chemicals emitted by ripe fruits and that they can use this information to make foraging decisions. However, amazons did not dedicate more time to interact with the fruit treatment. Our research provides the first evidence of the ability to exploit chemical volatile cues in macaws and toucans.
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