Effects of Tropical Successional Forests on Bird Feeding Guilds

  • Eurídice LeyequiénEmail author
  • José Luis Hernández-Stefanoni
  • Waldemar Santamaría-Rivero
  • Juan Manuel Dupuy-Rada
  • Juan Bautista Chable-Santos
Part of the Ecological Research Monographs book series (ECOLOGICAL)


Previous studies have emphasized the importance of including not only the potential and costs of different land use/land cover alternatives on carbon sequestration but that also there is a need to study the impact of the resulting land cover changes on biodiversity. Tropical forests are undergoing rapid transformation as the result of human activities, which have created more than 600 million ha of secondary vegetation. In particular, tropical dry forests (TDF) are under great pressure caused by conversion to agriculture and other land uses, resulting in a heterogeneous landscape mosaic of secondary forest in different stages of succession or small forest remnants embedded in a matrix of agriculture. Changes in the landscape mosaic affect patterns of animal species abundance and distribution and, consequently, influence community composition. Despite the prevalence of successional forests, few studies have examined their influence on higher trophic levels such as bird communities. The aim of this study was to examine the relative influence of successional age, vegetation structure, and landscape structure on bird guild composition in a TDF region in the Yucatan Peninsula, an important area for migratory birds characterized by high avian endemism. Species composition of different bird feeding guilds was calculated for 274 plots of bird point counts, and vegetation structure was obtained from a vegetation survey in the same plots. We used a land cover thematic map, derived from a supervised classification of SPOT5 satellite imagery, to calculate landscape pattern metrics. Species composition of birds was related to structure of vegetation, landscape metrics of patch types, and principal coordinates of neighbor matrices (PCNM) variables using canonical correspondence analysis (CCA). Overall, bird feeding guilds were influenced by stand age, vegetation structure, and spatial structure of sampled data, and marginally by landscape composition and configuration, but varied in their response and susceptibility to habitat changes. Sound conservation and management should take into account forest specialist species, which require pristine or late secondary forests to persist, and should consider a possible decline in species that may occur in secondary forests but would otherwise use mature forests, as well as declines in species which may feed in a variety of habitats but may not necessarily reproduce in all habitat types.


Dry tropical forest Feeding guilds Mexico Neotropical birds Secondary forests Yucatan Peninsula 



We thank James Callaghan and Kaxil Kiuic A.C. for logistic support. We also thank Rosalina Rodríguez Román, Filogonio May Pat, Fernando Tun Dzul, Víctor Marín Pérez, Ramiro Lara Castillo, Feliciano Pech Pinzón, Evelio Uc Uc, Mario Evelio Uc Uc, and Santos Armín Uc Uc for fieldwork and technical assistance. Funding for this research was provided by CICY, FOMIX-Yucatán (project YUC-2008-C06-108863) and CONACYT (CB-127800)


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eurídice Leyequién
    • 1
    Email author
  • José Luis Hernández-Stefanoni
    • 1
  • Waldemar Santamaría-Rivero
    • 1
  • Juan Manuel Dupuy-Rada
    • 1
  • Juan Bautista Chable-Santos
    • 2
  1. 1.Centro de Investigación Científica de YucatánMexicoMexico
  2. 2.Universidad Autónoma de YucatánMexicoMexico

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