In many parts of South America capybaras are the only large grazing species and can have a dramatic effect on the vegetation in an area. They are also mutualists or commensals with several types of birds which pick parasitic insects out of capybara fur or follow grazing capybaras and eat the insects they stir up from the grass. In addition, they are an important prey species for many different animals, as mentioned above.
Ecosystem Impact: creates habitat
- southern caracaras (Caracara plancus)
- rufous horneros (Furnarius rufus)
- yellow-headed caracaras (Milvago chimachima)
- Tomazzoni, A., E. Pedo, S. Hartz. 2005. Feeding associations between capybaras and birds in the Lami Biological Reserve. Revista Brasileira de Zoologia, 22:3: 712-716.