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Grit-Use Patterns in North American Birds: The Influence of Diet, Body Size, and Gender

James P. Gionfriddo and Louis B. Best
The Wilson Bulletin
Vol. 108, No. 4 (Dec., 1996), pp. 685-696
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4163749
Page Count: 12
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Grit-Use Patterns in North American Birds: The Influence of Diet, Body Size, and Gender
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Abstract

We investigated avian grit use by examining the gizzard contents of 1440 birds collected from 12 states. Grit was present in gizzards of 62 of 90 species and varied greatly in number and mean particle size. Gizzards of granivorous birds contained more grit particles than those of insectivores, omnivores, and frugivores. Grit particle characteristics (mean size, shape, and surface texture) did not differ among birds consuming different diets. Mean grit size increased linearly with the common logarithm of the bird body mass. Within avian species, grit-use patterns did not differ by gender. Grit use is widespread among birds, and diet strongly influences the amount of grit used by birds.

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