Seasonal dynamics of resource partitioning among foliage-gleaning passerines in northern Finland.Oecologia 1980; 45(2):190-196O
The five most abundant species were included in a year-round study with respect to six foraging niche dimensions. Approximately full multidimensional utilization functions were used for niche metrics. During summer foraging overlaps were invariably high, but in other seasons periodically lower. Foraging site breadth was lower in winter, when fewer sites are profitable for foraging than in summer. Feeding posture versatility, by contrast, was highest in winter. Seasonal foraging shifts were very prominent, as great in fact as between-species differences. Often seasonal trends were parallel in different species. Niche axes of macrohabitat-type (e.g. tree) were more open for foraging variation and axes of microhabitat-type (tree part) more rigid. Among the resident species seasonal variation in foraging was greatest in Regulus regulus and Parus cristatus, whereas the foraging behaviour was more stable for P. montanus (an abundant species with broad niche), perhaps owing to greater intraspecific competition. In these northern forests foliage-gleaners must be versatile generalists to cope with the unpredictable resources, and thus they overlap broadly in their general resource niches which are determined by their genetically fixed cost and benefit relations to each resource type. Anyhow, presumably during periodical food shortage, the actual resource uses adjusted by resource availability and competition may overlap narrowly.