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Diet of nestling Corn Buntings Miliaria calandra in southern England examined by compositional analysis.

By N W Brickle and D G C Harper


The diet of nestling Corn Buntings Miliaria calandra was assessed by examining 173 faeces collected from 39 broods on the South Downs in West Sussex. All faeces contained the remains of invertebrates and virtually all contained cereal grains. Arachnida (Araneae and Opiliones), Orthoptera, Lepidoptera (larvae), Symphyta (larvae) and Coleoptera (mainly adults) accounted for about 95% of the 720 invertebrates counted. There was no evidence that chick diet changed between 3 and 7 days after hatching. Late broods were fed more Orthoptera than early ones, the relative proportion of other dietary components remaining similar during the nesting season. In wet weather, faeces contained a higher proportion of grain. Even if decreases in chick food invertebrates over the last 25 years did not contribute to the decline of the Corn Bunting, they might hamper population recovery

Publisher: Bird Study
Year: 1999
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