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Data from: Elevational distribution of birds in an Eastern African montane environment as governed by temperature, precipitation, and habitat availability

Citation

van der Hoek, Yntze et al. (2021), Data from: Elevational distribution of birds in an Eastern African montane environment as governed by temperature, precipitation, and habitat availability, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.k6djh9w7g

Abstract

We conducted annual point counts of birds between 2013 and 2018 at 297 plots across habitats and elevations (2,416-4,303 m) in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda. These data were subsequently used to determine elevational and habitat preferences via indicator analyses, and to model abundance distributions as a function of temperature, precipitation, habitat availability, and congeneric competition. Of 35 focal species, we found 20 species to be particularly associated with narrow elevational range (<300 m) and 24 species to have a strong associated with one to three habitat types. Abiotic conditions, estimated for each plot location, significantly correlated with the abundance distributions of 33 species (temperature 33, precipitation 17), and biotic factors with distributions of 31 species (habitat 30, competition 7). Temperature and habitat availability were particularly associated with upper elevational limits (31 and 26 species respectively vs. 10 and 6 at lower limits), whereas precipitation affected both limits similarly (17 lower, 16 upper), and competition had a limited role at either limit (4 lower, 3 upper). That the elevational distribution of Afromontane birds results from a species-specific combination of biotic and abiotic factors is crucial information in our effort to predict climate change effects in this region.

Methods

Bird counts were conducted in 25-m radius circular plots twice a year between 2013 and 2018, June to September, across all of Volcanoes National Park (Rwanda). The data provided here are the sum of these bird counts per plot, as well as plot-specific data on elevation and climatic conditions.

Usage Notes

The column headers relate to the following:

Plot_name

Plots are named using conventional names in use by researchers and staff of Volcanoes National Park.

All plots are located between 1°21’–1°35’S, 29°22’–29°44’E; specific plot coordinates may be requested from the authors.

Elevation In m a.s.l.
MeanTemp Annual daily average in °C
MinTemp Average daily minimum in °C
Precipitation Annual precipitation in mm
'Bird Species' Sum of counts of a given species at a given location over the entire study period.