Urban exploiters have broader dietary nisches

Palacio, F.X. Urban exploiters have broader dietary niches than urban avoiders / Ibis. – 2020. – Vol. 162. P. 42–49.

Abstract. Urbanization is currently one of the most pervasive threats to biodiversity worldwide, yet traits permitting birds to exploit urban environments are not fully understood. I used bird traits related to diet (dietary item and foraging stratum), accounting for latitude, body size, development mode and phylogeny, to compare diet breadths of urban exploiters and urban avoiders, using a global dataset (463 bird species). Urban exploiters (urban species) were larger, consumed more vertebrates and carrion, and fed more frequently on the ground or aerially, and also had broader diets than urban avoiders (nonurban species). In contrast, urban species had narrower foraging strata ranges than nonurban species. These results not only support the hypothesis that urban species share dietary traits allowing them to cope with urban environments but also highlight the importance of considering multiple dietary traits to properly quantify species niches when assessing a species’ response to environmental change.

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