Wolf appetite of birds. They eat 400-500 million tons of insects annually
Every year, millions of tons of beetles, flies, mrowickets, moths, aphids, crickets and other insectsow end swoj life in bird beaks. Researchers from the University of Basel have calculated that around the world they die this wayob from 400 to 500 millionow tons of insectow, but this is the lower limit of the bird’s capacityow.
Martin Nyffeler, who led the study, stressed that birds are an extremely important factor in the fight against insects, whichore threatening farmland and forests. The results of the work by Nyffeler and his team were published on the „The Science of Nature”.
The researchers based their data on 103 previous studies determining the amount of insectoin being eaten by birds in seven areas of the world. The scientists stress that their calculations are supported by a large number of experimental studies conducted over many roteamoIn research in ros environments and in rotions in different parts of the world.
– The global population of insectivorous birdsow annually consumes as much energy as a megacity the size of New York City. They receive energy by capturing billionoin potentially harmful herbivorous insectsow and other arthropodsow – said Nyffeler.
The largest share of the number of insects eatenow have forest-dwelling birds. They consume about 75 percent of. insectow included in the calculation, which amounts to about 300 millionoin tons per year. About 100 millionoin tons accrue to birds living in areas pol crops, in grasslands, deserts and in the Arctic tundra.
Birds actively hunt insects, especiallyolnie during the breeding season, when they need protein-rich food to feed their chicks. Interestingly, the researchers calculated that the total mass of birdsow of insect-eating animals is only 3 million tons.
– The estimates presented in our publication emphasize the ecological and economic importance of the birdoIn insectivores in reducing populations of potentially harmful insectsoon a global scale – especiallyolnie in forested areas – pointed out Neffeler.
The scientist acknowledged that only a few other groups of predatorsow can rotion of insectivorous birds in exterminating insect populationsow that feed on plants. They are m.in. spiders.
In a study last year, Nyffeler and colleagues at Lund University calculated that spiders consume between 400 and 800 millionow tons of insectow. For more on this topic, see Monstrous appetite spiderow. Annually they eat approx. 400-800 million tons of insectow.
Nyffeler admitted roAlso, that other groups of predatorow, such as bats, primates, shrewsowks, hedgehogs, frogs, salamanders and lizards, are also important limiting factors for insect populationsow, but they are less effective on a global scale. Their impact is relevant to specific areasow. Lizards, for example, help keep insect populations in checkoin tropical islands, but this is not global.
– Birds are an endangered species, especiallyolnie through factors such as deforestation, agricultural intensification, the spread of pesticidesow, domestic cats, collisions with man-made structures, light pollution and climate change. If we fail to solve these problemsow, we may be deprived of these important ecosystem services, whichore provide us with birds – emphasized Nyfeler.
Sourceobackground: Science Daily, photo. Mdk572/ Wikimedia Commons/ CC BY-SA 3.0