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Title: Response of understory avifauna to annual flooding of amazonian floodplain forests
Authors: Rowedder, Anaís Rebeca Prestes
Laranjeiras, Thiago Orsi
Haugaasen, Torbjørn
Gilmore, Benjamin
Cohn-Haft, Mario
Keywords: Banks (bodies of water)
Water levels
Annual flooding
Aquatic environments
Floodplain forest
Insectivorous species
Reduction in height
Vegetation density
Vertical displacements
Vertical positions
Trachinotus falcatus
Issue Date: 2021
metadata.dc.publisher.journal: Forests
metadata.dc.relation.ispartof: Volume 12, Número 12
Abstract: 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. © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
metadata.dc.identifier.doi: 10.3390/f12081004
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