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Bird communities across varying landcover types in a Neotropical city

Citation

Hayes, Will et al. (2019), Bird communities across varying landcover types in a Neotropical city, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.msbcc2ftg

Abstract

Urbanization poses a serious threat to local biodiversity, yet towns and cities with abundant natural features may harbor important species populations and communities.While the contribution of urban greenspaces to conservation has been demonstrated by numerous studies within temperate regions, few consider the bird communities associated with different landcovers in Neotropical cities. To begin to fill this knowledge gap, we examined how the avifauna of a wetland city in northern Amazonia (Georgetown, Guyana) varied across six urban landcover types (coastal bluespace; urban bluespace; managed greenspace; unmanaged greenspace; dense urban; sparse urban). We measured detections, species richness and a series of ground cover variables that characterized the heterogeneity of each landcover, at 114 locations across the city. We recorded >10% (98) of Guyana’s bird species in Georgetown, including taxa of conservation interest. Avian detections, richness, and community composition differed with landcover type. Indicator species analysis identified 29 species from across dietary guilds, which could be driving community composition. Comparing landcovers, species richness was highest in managed greenspaces and lowest in dense urban areas. The canal network had comparable levels of species richness to greenspaces. The waterways are likely to play a key role in enhancing habitat connectivity as they traverse densely urbanized areas. Both species and landcover information should be integrated into urban land-use planning in the rapidly urbanizing Neotropics to maximize the conservation value of cities. This is imperative in the tropics, where anthropogenic pressures on species are growing significantly, and action needs to be taken to prevent biodiversity collapse.