Insect Diet of Some Afrotropical Insectivorous Passerines At The Jos Wildlife Park, Nigeria.
Despite being the most common avian dietary strategy, our understanding of the nutrition of avian insectivores lags behind that of less populous granivores, herbivores, and frugivores; thereby attracting research interest. Insect diet of Afrotropical insectivorous passerines at the Jos Wildlife Park was studied by trapping birds using mist nets in 2009. Trapped birds were identified and kept in a wooden box for 15 minutes to create a dark interior for the discharge of faeces. Insect remains in faecal droppings collected from individual passerines were identified to at least Order level. SPSS 2001 506 /id software packages was used for statistical analyses. Identified insect remains in faecal droppings of insectivorous passerines showed that there were 13 positively identified Orders. Ten Families belonging to the Orders Hymenoptera, Coleoptera, Orthoptera, Diptera, Isoptera, Anoplura and Mantodae were positively identified. There was a significant difference (One sample- T-test; t=5.05, df=18, P<0.001) in the choice of insect diet by the insectivorous passerines trapped during the study. Of the fragments recorded from the faecal droppings, 325(83%) constitute insect diet, 35(10%) plant materials and 25(7%) were unidentified. The study shows that insects utilised by avian insectivores in the Jos Wildlife Park is probably a reflection of insect abundance and diversity. Therefore insectivorous passerines may have adapted to feeding largely on abundant and diversed insect species present in the study area.