Behavioral and social structure effects on seed dispersal curves of a forest-interior bulbul (Pycnonotidae) in a tropical evergreen forest
Movement patterns of animals can vary dramatically as a function of their reproductive cycle or social structure; however, little is known about how changes in the social structure of dispersers affect patterns of seed dispersal. We examined the movement patterns of the forest-dwelling and cooperatively breeding Puff-throated Bulbul (Alophoixus pallidus) in relation to different stages of their reproductive cycle, time of day, and group size, to determine potential impacts on the shape and scale of dispersal curves generated using a combination of gut passage time and displacement distance data. There were significant differences in dispersal distances depending on group size, season (breeding, non-breeding), incubation (vs. other times of the year), and time of the day. The estimated median seed dispersal distance was 28 m. The median dispersal distances produced by birds in larger groups were longer than those of smaller groups (29 m vs. 25 m). During the breeding season, median dispersal distances were longer than during the non-breeding season (31 m vs. 25 m), but the median dispersal distances were significantly shorter during incubation than during outside incubation (24 m vs. 28 m). The median dispersal distance produced in the early morning (30 m) was also longer than that of other times of the day (23 m late morning, 28 m early afternoon, and 26 m late afternoon). This study suggests that various aspects of an animal's behavior are likely to have significant effects on seed shadows and that this may vary significantly even among individuals of the same species.