Studies performed at the Zvenigorod Biological Station of the Moscow State University in 2010 showed that the biomass of leaf-eating insects during the first nesting cycle of the Great Tit was three times higher than that during the second cycle. As estimated from video recordings made at the nests, the proportions of leaf-eating larvae in the diet of first-and second-brood nestlings were 84.3 and 46.0%, respectively. In both cases, most of them were caterpillars of butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera), and their total proportion in the diet was higher in the first-than in second-brood nestlings. Lepidopteran larvae are the main source of carotenoids for the birds, and Raman spectroscopic analysis for carotenoids in ventral feathers confirmed that their content was also higher in the first-brood nestlings.
Russian Journal of Ecology – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 7, 2013
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