Assemblage structure and dynamics of terrestrial birds in the southwest Amazon: a camera-trap case study

Carla Mere Roncal, Emily Middendorf, Adrian Forsyth, Aimy Cáceres, John G. Blake, Angélica M. Almeyda Zambrano, Eben N. Broadbent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


© 2019 Association of Field Ornithologists Habitat spatial distribution, seasonal variation, and activity patterns influence changes in vertebrate assemblages over time. Terrestrial birds play major roles in the dynamics of tropical forests, but there are few effective methods to study these species due to their cryptic coloration and elusive behavior. We used camera-trap data collected during 16 mo (February 2017–June 2018) to describe the terrestrial avifauna in southeastern Peru, assess to what extent the composition of terrestrial avifauna changes among seasons and across two major habitats (terra firme and floodplain forests), and determine daily activity patterns of terrestrial birds. We used overlap analyses to examine temporal co-occurrence between ecologically similar and sympatric species. Camera traps recorded 16 species, including eight species in the family Tinamidae. Capture rates were highest for Pale-winged Trumpeters (Psophia leucoptera; Psophiidae) and Gray-fronted Doves (Leptolila rufaxilla; Columbidae). Species composition did not differ between habitats or seasons, and capture rates between habitats only differed for White-throated Tinamous (Tinamus guttatus). Overlaps of activity patterns were high between ecologically similar species and species found in terra firme habitats (White-throated Tinamous and Cinereous Tinamous, Crypturellus cinereus) and in both habitat types (Pale-winged Trumpeters and Gray-fronted Doves). Low numbers of captures of possibly locally rare or less abundant species hindered a complete analysis of spatial and seasonal patterns of terrestrial bird assemblages. We suggest a greater sampling effort and greater spatial replication to better understand the spatial and seasonal dynamics of the terrestrial avifauna. Further studies that assess the mechanisms that allow the coexistence of sympatric tinamous would be valuable, both in our study area and elsewhere. The use of camera traps in long-term monitoring projects proved to be an effective tool for monitoring terrestrial birds, identifying cryptic and often rare animals to species level, and providing valuable ecological information at species and community levels.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)203-214
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Field Ornithology
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes


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