Avian richness, status, and conservation in the northwestern neotropics in Sonora, Mexico

Aaron D Flesch, Peter Warshall, Sky Jacobs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We assessed the status and richness of birds in a remote region of northwest Mexico and provided the first description of a bird community in foothills thornscrub vegetation across the full annual cycle of seasons. Our efforts were part of a broad program to describe biodiversity and conservation value of the Northern Jaguar Reserve. This large private reserve was recently proposed for federal protection, in part, because it supports the northernmost breeding population of jaguars (Panthera onca) and extensive riparian woodlands along the largest free-flowing river in western Mexico. The reserve and surrounding region are dominated by foothills thornscrub, which is a vegetation community that covers a vast transition zone between tropical forest and desert-scrub in northwest Mexico but is not represented in the federal system of Natural Protected Areas. Bird species richness was similar to that found in other protected areas in western Mexico. Over seven years, we observed 214 species of birds and estimate that 241 species are present (95% CI = 225-257). Community composition was temporally dynamic; 49% of species were winter residents or passage migrants, 31% were permanent residents, and 15% were summer residents. We observed 10 species that were breeding or wintering north of the previously described limits of their geographic ranges. We observed 13 species of conservation concern in Mexico, including the Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) and Military Macaw (Ara militaris) that occur at the extreme southern and northern edges of their breeding ranges, respectively. High environmental variation and unique biogeographic and physiographic settings in this region promote high bird species richness and high conservation value.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)288-296
Number of pages9
JournalNatural Areas Journal
Volume35
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

Fingerprint

bird
protected area
species richness
breeding
federal system
vegetation
scrub
breeding population
annual cycle
transition zone
tropical forest
community composition
woodland
desert
biodiversity
winter
summer
river
bird species
conservation of species

Keywords

  • distribution
  • foothills thornscrub
  • Mexico
  • Natural Protected Area
  • Northern Jaguar Reserve
  • richness
  • Sonora

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Ecology

Cite this

Avian richness, status, and conservation in the northwestern neotropics in Sonora, Mexico. / Flesch, Aaron D; Warshall, Peter; Jacobs, Sky.

In: Natural Areas Journal, Vol. 35, No. 2, 01.04.2015, p. 288-296.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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