Population Ecology

, Volume 58, Issue 4, pp 535–547 | Cite as

Vertical stratification of an avian community in New Guinean tropical rainforest

  • Kryštof Chmel
  • Jan Riegert
  • Luda Paul
  • Vojtěch Novotný
Original Article


Vertical stratification of avian communities has been studied in both temperate and tropical forests; however, the majority of studies used ground-based methods. In this study we used ground-to-canopy mist nets to collect detailed data on vertical bird distribution in primary rain forest in Wanang Conservation Area in Papua New Guinea (Madang Province). In total 850 birds from 86 species were caught. Bird abundance was highest in the canopy followed by the understory and lowest in the midstory. Overall bird diversity increased towards the canopy zone. Insectivorous birds represented the most abundant and species-rich trophic guild and their abundances decreased from the ground to canopy. The highest diversity of frugivorous and omnivorous birds was confined to higher vertical strata. Insectivorous birds did not show any pattern of diversity along the vertical gradient. Further, insectivores preferred strata with thick vegetation, while abundance and diversity of frugivores increased with decreasing foliage density. Our ground-to-canopy (0–27 m) mist netting, when compared to standard ground mist netting (0–3 m), greatly improved bird diversity assessment and revealed interesting patterns of avian community stratification along vertical forest strata.


Bird abundance Canopy Diversity of birds Forest strata Trophic guilds Understory 



We thank Staford Hais, Samuel Jepi, Nambi Imbi and Seped Viaku for assistance with the field data collection; Wanang community for supporting conservation and our research activities on their land; and staff from New Guinea Binatang Research Center for logistical and other support during our stay in Papua New Guinea. We also thank Roger Jovani and anonymous reviewers for suggestions that improved the manuscript. This work was supported by the Czech Ministry of Education and European Commission (CZ.1.07/2.3.00/20.0064), the Grant Agency of Czech Republic (14-36098G) and the Grant Agency of the University of South Bohemia (GAJU 156/2013/P).

Supplementary material

10144_2016_561_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (494 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 494 kb)


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Copyright information

© The Society of Population Ecology and Springer Japan 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Zoology, Faculty of SciencesUniversity of South BohemiaČeské BudějoviceCzech Republic
  2. 2.Biology CentreCzech Academy of SciencesČeské BudějoviceCzech Republic
  3. 3.New Guinea Binatang Research CenterMadangPapua New Guinea

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