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Densities and habitat preferences of Andean cloud-forest birds in pristine and degraded habitats in north-eastern Ecuador

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W. Cresswell, M. Hughes, R. Mellanby, S. Bright, P. Catry, J. Chaves, J. Freile, A. Gabela, H. Martineau, R. Macleod, F. Mcphie, N. Anderson, S. Holt, S. Barabas, C. Chapel, T. Sanchez

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Abstract

The montane cloud-forests of the north-central Andes and the montane grassland and transitional elfin forest of the central Andean paramo contain a high diversity of bird species including several restricted range and uncommon species. Little is known of how densities of Andean cloud-forest species are affected by habitat degradation. Bird densities within pristine and degraded habitats at the Guandera Biological Reserve, Carchi province, Ecuador were recorded over a 10-week period. Densities were calculated for 48 species; where densities could be compared, 69% of species occurred at a higher density in pristine habitats. Pristine forest had the highest species richness with 72 species and paramo contained 44 species. In total, 26% of pristine forest species were only found in pristine forest, 39% of paramo species only in paramo, 13% of farmland species only in farmland and there were no exclusively secondary scrub species; 47% of species found in pristine forest, and 50% found in paramo were found in both secondary scrub and farmland. Restricted range species recorded at Guandera included the Carunculated Caracara Phalcobenus carunculatus, Black-thighed Puffleg Eriocnemis derbyi, Chestnut-bellied Cotinga Doliornis remseni, Crescent-faced Antpitta Grallaricula lineifrons, Masked Mountain-tanager Buthraupis wetmorei and Black-backed Bush-tanager Urothraupis stolzmanni. Three further species that occurred at Guandera of relatively local occurrence were the Grey-breasted Mountain Toucan Andigena hypoglauca, Golden-breasted Puffleg Eriocnemis mosquera and Mountain Avocetbill Opisthoprora euryptera. Of these nine species at least five used degraded habitats, while three occurred only in pristine treeline habitats.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-145
Number of pages17
JournalBird Conservation International
Volume9
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1999

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