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Plantcutters: Phytotomidae


All three species of plantcutter are herbivores (plant eaters), eating leaves of the plants and trees found in their habitats. They also eat fruit on occasion, and since humans have occupied their territories have developed a fondness for grape and cereal-crop leaves.

Unlike other species of herbivorous birds, of which there are only a few, the plantcutter has not evolved a complex digestive system to process its tough, fibrous food. They use the tooth-like ridges on the edges of their beaks to chew their food into a pulp, which allows their digestive tracts to absorb the nutritious interiors of the plants' cells.

The plantcutter species has extremely efficient intestines that can process large amounts of vegetation in a relatively short time. This adaptation lets the birds maintain a high metabolic level, and thus a high energy and activity level.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsPlantcutters: Phytotomidae - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Peruvian Plantcutter (phytotoma Raimondii): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, PLANTCUTTERS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS