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Ecological and Environmental Physiology of Birds$
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J. Eduardo P. W. Bicudo, William A. Buttemer, Mark A. Chappell, James T. Pearson, and Claus Bech

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199228447

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199228447.001.0001

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Adaptations: Obtaining and Processing Food

Adaptations: Obtaining and Processing Food

(p.99) 4 Adaptations: Obtaining and Processing Food
Ecological and Environmental Physiology of Birds

J. Eduardo P. W. Bicudo

William A. Buttemer

Mark A. Chappell

James T. Pearson

Claus Bech

Oxford University Press

This chapter reviews the diversity of feeding habits among birds and the consequences for their nutritional ecology. Different digestion strategies are also emphasized. Food selection is often treated as a challenge of acquisition, but it is also a problem of utilization, processing and digestion of food. What animals eat and excrete shapes their role in ecological communities and determines their contribution to the flux of energy and materials in ecosystems. The balance between energy acquisition and expenditure is critical for survival and reproductive success. Because energy intake and expenditure integrate all aspects of an individual's life, changes in energy management are closely tied to all aspects of its life-history, including diet quality, nutritional requirements, allocation of time, and body plan.

Keywords:   energy, nutrition, digestion, digestive efficiency, digestive enzymes, absorption, retention, xenobiotics

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