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Palm Species in the Diet of the Northern Cassowary (Casuarius unappendiculatus) in Jayapura Region, Papua, Indonesia

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This is the first study on the interaction between frugivorous birds and palms in Papua, Indonesia on the island of New Guinea. The study was aimed to investigate the palm species in the diet of the northern cassowary (Casuarius unappendiculatus) by identifying the seeds and fruits in fecal droppings encountered on a set of transects in the lowland forest. A total of 2681 palm seeds and fruits was found in 147 droppings collected from primary forest and humanaltered habitats. Ten palm species from nine genera were identified among the diet items of the northern cassowary in Jayapura region. Palm seeds were encountered in all habitats studied, but the number of seeds was significantly different between habitats. The highest number of seeds was obtained from natural forest and the lowest was in logged forest. These results suggest the importance of palms as food resources for the northern cassowary and the birds as keystone species, which play a significant role in palm dispersal.
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... Since not all fruiting plants were visited by frugivores during fieldwork, data on cassowary diet and literature searches (e.g. Beehler & Dumbacher, 1996;Brown & Hopkins, 2002;Coates & Peckover, 2001;Keiluhu, 2013;Pangau-Adam & Muehlenberg, 2014;Pratt & Stiles, 1985;Terborgh & Diamond, 1970) were useful for the identification of those fruiting species known as being bird-dispersed in the region. ...
... In New Guinea, the family Arecaceae (palms) is among the plant families that are most important for specialist frugivores like cassowaries, and provides a variety of fruits in the lowland forest (Pangau-Adam & Muehlenberg, 2014). Palms were common in each habitat that we studied, and three species producing birdfavored fruits were found in each habitat. ...
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