Feeding Ecology and Habitat Use of the Senegal Parrot at Fongoli: Possible Implications for Sympatric Chimpanzees
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Little is known about the feeding ecology of the West African Senegal parrot (Poicephalus senegalus), and there is no information regarding possible dietary overlap with sympatric chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus). Given that parrots and primates share advanced cognition (Emery and Clayton, 2004), larger brain size (Olkowicz 2016) and a complex social system (Harpøth 2013); dietary overlap was hypothesized to be extensive. This study was done from May 2018 to July 2018 at the Fongoli Savanna Chimpanzee Project site, Senegal, with the goals to 1) establish a dietary profile for Senegal parrots, and 2) assess the amount of dietary overlap with chimpanzees in terms of food species and food parts eaten. It was found that Senegal parrot food items do overlap with those of chimpanzees. For example, both species ate Ficus, Saba senegalensis, Lannea mircocarpa, Lannea velutina, and Sclerocarya birrea. Because no direct competition for shared foods was seen during the study, it would suggest competition between Senegal parrots and chimpanzees might primarily be scramble. This study is the first step in providing a more complete picture of dietary overlap and feeding competition between Senegal parrots and chimpanzees.