Reduced flower visitation by nectar-feeding birds in response to fire in Cape fynbos vegetation, South Africa
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Nectar-feeding birds are important pollinators in fire-prone regions of the world, but the impact of fires on these bird communities has seldom been studied. Nectarfeeding bird communities were censused during peak flowering, before and after fire in the Cape fynbos of South Africa. The abundance and species richness of nectarfeeding birds decreased at all sites. In a controlled experiment, two common bird-pollinated plants, which flower profusely after a fire, were presented in floral arrays in burnt and unburnt vegetation. Birds visited flowers only in the unburnt areas. The results are surprising given the large number of bird-pollinated plants that have fire-stimulated flowering.