Zoological Studies

Vol. 46 No. 3, 2007

The Diet of Fairy Pitta Pitta nympha Nestlings in Taiwan as Revealed by Videotaping

Ruey-Shing Lin1,2, Cheng-Te Yao2, and Pei-Fen Lee3,*

1Institute of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, National Taiwan University, Taipei 106, Taiwan
2Endemic Species Research Institute, 1 Ming-Shen East Road, Jiji, Nantou 552, Taiwan
3Institute of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Department of Life Science, National Taiwan University, Taipei 106, Taiwan

Ruey-Shing Lin, Cheng-Te Yao, and Pei-Fen Lee (2007) The nestling diet of the Fairy Pitta (Pitta nympha) in west-central Taiwan was studied by videotaping 8 broods from 2000 to 2002.  Adults usually brought 1-3 items at each feeding visit to nestlings, and the prey sizes were usually in 2-10 cm in length.  The total number of food provisionings to provide food for nestlings was estimated to be around 900-1000 based on a brood observed for the entire nestling period.  Earthworms were the most important food item for all broods and occurred in more than 73% of the adult's feeding visits.  However, the occurrences of earthworm decreased with nestling age in 1 brood which was observed during drought conditions, possibly due to a decline in earthworm abundances during this dry period.  More information on the effects of earthworm abundances on the breeding performance of the Fairy Pitta and relationships with habitat characteristics is needed to ensure the future conservation of this vulnerable species.

Key words: Food, Earthworm, Videotaping, Reproduction, Endangered species.

*Correspondence: Tel: 886-2-23623501.  Fax: 886-2-23686750. E-mail:leepf@ntu.edu.tw