Response of understory avifauna to annual flooding of Amazonian floodplain forests

Rowedder, ARP, Laranjeiras, TO ORCID:, Haugaasen, T ORCID:, Gilmore, B and Cohn-Haft, M 2021, 'Response of understory avifauna to annual flooding of Amazonian floodplain forests' , Forests, 12 (8) , e1004.

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The annual flooding in the Amazon basin transforms the understory of floodplain forests into an aquatic environment. However, a great number of non-aquatic bird species occupy the understory and midstory of these forests. In general, these birds are thought to be sedentary and territorial, but the way they adapt to this dramatic seasonal transformation has never been described in detail. In this study, we describe avifaunal strategies to cope with seasonal flooding in the lower Purus region, central Amazonia, Brazil. We conducted focal observations of five insectivorous species occupying the lowest forest strata in two types of floodplain forest (black- and whitewater) during the low- and high-water seasons. For each observation, the height of the bird above the substrate (ground or water), its vertical position in the forest, and vegetation density around the bird were noted. All species remained present in the floodplain forests during the two seasons and were not recorded in adjacent unflooded (terra firme) forest. In general, birds migrated vertically to higher forest strata and most species (three of the five) occupied similar vegetation densities independent of water level. Despite the tendency of all species to rise in relative vertical position at high water, there was a reduction in height above substrate for four of the five species, suggesting that their position relative to water was not an important microhabitat element for them. Responses were similar in the two floodplain forest types. It is likely that the decrease in available space during the flood, combined with similar vertical displacement in arthropods, leads to increased prey density for understory insectivorous birds and permits year-round territoriality without major habitat shifts.

Item Type: Article
Contributors: Itoh, A (Editor)
Additional Information: ** From MDPI via Jisc Publications Router ** Licence for this article: **Journal IDs: eissn 1999-4907 **History: published 29-07-2021; accepted 20-07-2021
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences
Journal or Publication Title: Forests
Publisher: MDPI
ISSN: 1999-4907
Related URLs:
Funders: Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico
SWORD Depositor: Publications Router
Depositing User: Publications Router
Date Deposited: 02 Aug 2021 08:51
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 07:26

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