Who Is Who in the City? Bird Species Richness and Composition in Urban Latin America

  • Ian MacGregor-Fors
  • Michelle García-Arroyo


Urban ecology in Latin America still lags behind temperate developed countries; yet, knowledge in the region has increased remarkably in the last decade. Based on previously published literature, including major global and regional reviews, we underline the prominent patterns of bird species richness and composition recorded in urban Latin America, summarizing the main factors influencing such patterns and contrasting them with those found in other regions of the world. To obtain an updated set of publications focused on bird species richness and composition in Latin America, we performed a search in the Web of Science for literature published up to 2015. After filtering out publications not considering bird species richness and/or composition, a total of 464 remained. We classified the assessed publications in relation to the study area (region and country), publication year, general aims, and main findings. We found notable similarities and differences between patterns described in studies from across the globe and from those described in previous literature reviews focused on Latin American studies. Some of the most recent publications support previously identified patterns, providing a more comprehensive understanding of how birds are responding to urbanization and its associated processes. Finally, we highlight some areas of research opportunity that could broaden our comprehension of bird ecology in relation to urbanization in Latin America. In sum, we recommend further studies assessing bird species richness and composition in urban Latin America to consider more comprehensive and comparative approaches that account for the variability of conditions occurring within urban areas, including highly developed and depauperated sites at different geographical and temporal scales.


Biodiversity statistics Bioindicators Bird ecology Urban matrix Urbanization 



The authors are greatly thankful to Jeffrey G.-H. Lee and Rafael Rueda Hernández for their helpful comments that enhanced the quality and clarity of the chapter, as well as Carlos Chávez Zichinelli, Miguel Ángel Gómez Martínez, and Julian Avila Campos for their support with figures and abstract screening. MG-A acknowledges the scholarship and financial support provided by the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT 416452) and the Master’s Program of the Instituto de Ecología, A.C. (INECOL).


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Red de Ambiente y Sustentabilidad, Instituto de Ecología, A.C.XalapaMexico

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