Community structure and species abundances may be strongly correlated to patterns of forest cover, although such patterns are poorly known for tropical dry-forest birds, especially for those in Panamanian dry forests. Birds were distance-sampled during point counts in five dry-forest fragments in Panama. Distance from point count to forest edge and forest coverage at three spatial scales (500, 1000 and 2000-m radius) were compared as covariate predictors of the abundance of avian species and guilds. Each covariate was selected in at least two models of species or guild abundance. Abundance patterns were consistent with previously reported habitat associations for only two of seven open-habitat or forest-preferring species that showed forest cover-abundance relationships. Null models best described the abundance of all forest species and the subset of uncommon forest species. Thus many of these species appear insensitive to the forest-cover gradients studied. Total abundance of open-habitat-preferring species increased in dry forests with increasing forest coverage within 500 m, suggesting that the relationship between their abundance and vegetation structure are spatial-scale and habitat dependent. Nectarivores had lower abundance as forest cover within 1000 m increased, supporting previous claims that this group is tolerant of forest edges.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics