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COMPOSITION AND PROSPECTS FOR CONSERVATION OF THE AVIFAUNA ASSOCIATED WITH DIFFERENT SAVANNA HABITATS IN ZUATA RIVER BASIN, SOUTHEASTERN LLANOS, VENEZUELA

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Author(s): LUCIO V. BASTIDAS | ROSAURO NAVARRO-RODRÍGUEZ | GEDIO MARÍN-ESPINOZA

Journal: The Biologist (Lima)
ISSN 1816-0719

Volume: 11;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 33;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: Bird fauna | conservation | Southeastern Llanos | Zuata river

ABSTRACT
In the Neotropics, savannas are one of the biomes most impacted by human activities. In order to minimize such impacts and to justify the importance of preserving representative and fragile areas for bird communities, we determined the bird fauna composition in the Zuata river basin, in southeastern Llanos, state of Anzoátegui, Venezuela, by using community parameters, in five biotopes: Gallery Forest (GAF), Morichal (MOR), Palm-forested Savanna (PFS), Elfin Savanna (ELS) and Elfin-Palm Savanna (EPS), plotted in four Bird Ecofloristic Units (BEU). 168 species belonging to 45 families were recorded. Tyrannidae (22 spp.), Ardeidae, Columbidae, Icteridae and Emberizidae (9 spp.) were the most abundant families, comprising ca 53 % of recorded species from the Los Llanos biome. For the biotopes species richness revealed the pattern: GAF (121 spp.) > EPS (110 spp.) > ELS (107 spp.) > PFS (98 spp.) > MOR (56 spp.), meanwhile in BEU were: BEU1 > BEU2 > BEU3 > BEU4. There again, the evenness showed a visible uniformity for all BEU, revealing a low percentage of dominance, and a great homogeneity and stability in avian dynamics in this river basin. The nodal units BEU1 x BEU3 (62%) and BEU1 x BEU4 (60 %) showed the lowest overlap of species; in contrast, the integrated nodes BEU3 x BEU4 (29%) showed 71% of common species. Beta diversity (β) revealed that the BOG biotope showed the highest species difference, viz.; BOG ( β = 6,94) < PFS ( β = 7,56) < ELS ( β = 7,77) < SAP (β = 8,57) < MOR ( β = 15,27). The results of this study suggest that the Zuata river basin may offer important habitats for migrating and resident birds. Unlike the rest of the Venezuelan plains states, the Llanos of the state of Anzoátegui does not count as a Legal Protected Areas; in this regard, Zuata river basin can be postulated as a potential candidate for a bird sanctuary (LOOT/Cap. V/Art. 15).
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