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Turkey Vulture Photo Cathartes aura perched on the Cactus Stenocereus eichlamii

Foto de Zopilote Cabecirrojo posado sobre un Tuno

The Sierra de las Minas is seen to the north from Estanzuela,

Rio Motagua Valley, Depto. de Zacapa, Guatemala. 

© 1990 Peter W. Wendelken

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Turkey Vulture perched on the Cactus Stenocereus eichlamii, Estanzuela with view of Sierra de las Minas, Guatemala

The fruit of the Tuno Cactus Stenocereus eichlamii possesses a juicy, bright red pulp through which are distributed hundreds of tiny seeds.

Stenocereus eichlamii fruit is consumed by at least 15 species of birds: White-winged Dove, Orange-fronted Parakeet, Groove-billed Ani, Cinnamon Hummingbird, Plain-capped Starthroat, Russet-crowned Motmot, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Great Kiskadee, White-throated Magpie Jay, Rufous-naped Wren, Tropical Mockingbird, Varied Bunting, Great-tailed Grackle, Streak-backed Oriole, and Altamira Oriole.

Most of the bird species perched on the cactus while eating fruit. However, the Great Kiskadee utilized "flycatcher sallies" to obtain fruit, flying to an open fruit from a perch in an adjacent tree or bush, removing pulp with the bill while hovering briefly, then flying to a perch to swallow.

These data are based on the field study done by Peter Wendelken in Guatemala in 1984 when he lived in Teculután, Departamento de Zacapa. A PDF version of the paper resulting from the study may be accessed via the following link.