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Aves, 10/3 | 1973 | 182-192
Schnock, G. & Seutin, E.
Qualitative analysis of 673 crop contents of the Wood-Pigeon (Columba palumbus), more or less regularly sampled during 4 years, shows that 88 different types of food are eaten by the Wood-Pigeon. 78 food items are issued from different parts of platns like leaves, fruits, seeds, flowers and rhizones belonging to 56 species. 10 kinds of food aez supplied by animals like molluscs, caterpillars, chrysalides and earth-worms. Each year, types of food eaten by the Wood-Pigeon appear to be closely related with the potentialities and phenological evolutions of the surrounding landscape. This relationship is demonstrated by 4 obvious and important variations in the diet in relation with 4 phenological modifications in the habitat, reappearing each year roughly at the same period. These four different steps correspond successively to : - start of the sowing-time of spring crops (end of March-early April); - germination of the last grain-seeds (mid-May); - pre-maturation of barley and wheat (first fortnight of July); - dissemination of acorns and beechnuts or Wood-Pigeon migration (early October). Following these observations, the alimentary cycle of the Wood-Pigeon can be divided in four different phases, each of which being correlated with a precise phenological stage of the environment. These phases are : 1. Sowing-time and germination-period of the spring crops (5-7 weeks); 2. Period of growth, flowering and pre-maturationof crops (+/- 7 weeks); 3. Period of maturation and harvest of crops (+/- 11 weeks); 4. Period of vegetative rest (+/- 26-27 weeks). Each of the four stages is characterized by one or several peculiar food-items which constitute the basic food of the Wood-Pigeon. Further, the Wood-Pigeon eats additional food, the relative amount of which is given in table 1. As the phase IV is submitted to special conditions modifying the alimentary potentialities, it has been divided in 3 sub-phases which are very variable following the eco-climatical conditions. Sub-phase IVa is related with the occurence and abundance of forest-seeds like acorns and beechnuts. Sub-phase IVb corresponds to periods during which snow is more or less completely covering the soil surface. Sub-phase IVc is a period of simultaneous absence of snow, acorn and beechnut. Table 2 shows the relative importance of the three ecosystems (woodland, meadow and crop-field) in the food supply of the Wood-Pigeon. Their relationship is mainly apparent in the phase II.