We report on the extent of bird extinctions at San Antonio, a fragmented cloud forest site in the western Andes of Colombia, for which surveys dating back to 1911 and 1959 an available. In 1911, 128 forest bird species were present in San Antonio. Twenty‐four species had disappeared by 1959, and since then 16 more species have gone locally extinct, for a total of 40 species or 31% of the original avifauna. We analyzed patterns of extinction in relation to geographic distribution and foraging guilds. We found that in this montane assemblage, being at the limits of the altitudinal distribution was the main correlate of extinction; 37% of the extinct species were at the upper limit of their altiudinal distribution. We also found that the most vulnerable guilds were the understory insectivores and the large canopy frugivores. Our study illustrates the extent of bird extinctions that are currently undocumented in the highly fragmented forests of the northern Andes, where the absence of baseline information on the fauna of unaltered forests is a limiting factor for the development of conservation and management plans. We stress the need to establish data bases and long‐term monitoring projects for the Andean fauna.
Conservation Biology – Wiley
Published: Mar 1, 1994
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