I have a general interest in complex adaptive systems and I have found that nature and the organisms within it is a perfect natural case of a rich adaptive system with a lot of possibilities for gaining insight in general about the nature of complex adaptive systems.
My mind accidentally started thinking about the common human feeding pattern breakfast-lunch-dinner and I sought reference points in nature, realizing that I'm not aware of any specific cases where the feeding pattern of animals other then humans follow a distinct pattern, in contrast to a constant, stochastic or mainly opportunistic search for food.
In the case of humans there is probably a very strong cultural cause for our very distinct feeding pattern, but that is not necessarily to say that these patterns only can occur in species with a highly developed culture.
How does the scientific body of observations look like here? Is there any research or empirical observations about the feeding pattern of animals?
For example, I would of the top of my head assume that some common reasons for these patterns to develop could be connected to e.g. the 24h circadian rhythm, dependencies to availability of food, or internal dependencies on behavioural organization in social species.
Of course it's likely that many organisms do not have the luxury of spending a significant time on other activities then acquiring food, but nevertheless we can see that some animals have evolved into a situation where they don't have to constantly be in the search for food, but instead can spend time on other activities increasing their fitness, like engaging in social interactions, searching for and seducing sexual mates, exploring their environment and migrating, building nests and so on.
To clarify what kind of observations I'm imagining could happen, take these speculative examples:
Some species of birds have a significantly higher feeding activity in the morning, where they after a night of inactivity have depleted their daily energy resource and when the insects, their main source of food, starts to activate after a cold night and are still cold and slower/easier prey. After this the birds only have an opportunistic approach to feeding which is enough to satisfy their energy need, and they spend more energy on pruning, calling for potential mates and engaging in territorial battles.
Many primates engage in collective feeding sessions where they as a group travel to a known area rich with food where they spend a couple of hours before they retreat back to a different location for socializing and digesting the food. One reason for this behaviour can be that there is a high risk of predation at these food-rich areas, as the predators learn that these places are frequently visited by prey.
Feline predators on the savannah are usually concentrating their hunting in the night as the darkness gives them an advantage of stealth and surprise. This is why they in daytime instead spend a considerable amount of time on resting, engaging in activities regarding social hierarchies, order and bonding with the pride, while most often only opportunistically engaging in hunting.
Do we have a body of knowledge here?
While it would be close to hand to start trying making lists of observations like this, which certainly would be interesting in itself, the intention of this question is to get a good overview on the subject. Are patterns like these common or uncommon? In the cases where they are found, what are the common factors and what can be identified as the underlying causes?