Grazing behaviour of llamas, alpacas and sheep in the Andes of Peru

J. A. Pfister, F. San Martin, L. Rosales, D. V. Sisson, E. Flores, F. C. Bryant

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29 Scopus citations


Llamas, alpacas and sheep graze jointly in many herds in the Andes. As foraging behaviour may be an important aspect of resource partitioning among camelids and sheep, activity budgets and feeding patterns during one wet and one dry season were quantified. We found that llamas generally spent more time (P < 0.05) at each feeding station than did alpacas and sheep. Bite rate differed (P < 0.05) among animal species with alpacas>llamas>sheep. Llamas and alpacas had greater (P < 0.05) total grazing times than sheep. However, llamas divided their grazing time evenly among tall, coarse bunchgrasses and low-growing grasses, while alpacas and sheep spent the majority of their grazing time consuming low-growing grasses and forbs. Camelids and sheep appear to occupy different foraging niches in the Andes. Llamas may be better adapted than alpacas and sheep to subsist on coarse forage in drier Andean regions as a consequence of their foraging behaviour. © 1989.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)237-246
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Animal Behaviour Science
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1989


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