Honduras Birds – Canopy Bird Species Research


Honduras Birds
Introduction Research Results Discussion Authors

Honduras Birds of the Rainforest

Honduras and the Pico Bonito Rainforest offers birdwatchers an incredible opportunity to see an almost unlimited number of both native Honduras birds and migratory aves. Almost 800 species of birds have been identified in the Pico Bonito National Park, which is comprised of 270,000 acres of tropical wet forests, cloud forests and micro habitats. There is nothing like the jungle, and the canopy forest in this region of Honduras is filled with incredible biodiversity.

Honduras bird species which are rarely seen elsewhere, (lovely cotinga, keel-billed toucan, green shrike-vireo, or the emerald toucanette) are quite common in the rainforests of Pico Bonito. Other frequently seen birds are spotted jays, woodpeckers, warblers, orioles, crossbills, and in the main cloud forest, quetzals.

Presented here is an incredible study where David L. Anderson and Luciano N. Naka researched canopy birds at two lowland rainforest sites. We hope you enjoy the findings documented in their paper, “Comparative Structure and Organization of Canopy Bird Assemblages in Honduras and Brazil”.

Birds of the Forest Canopy

Honduras Birds Include Toucans




Birds of the forest canopy are an integral component of bird communities of neotropical forests but remain largely unstudied, inhibiting any broad characterization of their assemblages. We present the first description of a canopy-bird assemblage from Middle America and, on the basis of >11,000 detections in lowland rainforests in Honduras and Amazonian Brazil, compare two distant canopy-bird assemblages. The richness of canopy birds at the two sites was similar despite the much higher richness of forest birds in Brazil. Furthermore, abundance distributions differed significantly: in Honduras the assemblage was dominated by a small number of superabundant species and had fewer rare species, whereas in Brazil it had fewer abundant species and was thus more even.

Omnivores and insectivores dominated the assemblages in terms of species richness, but omnivores were numerically more abundant. Species of forest edges and open habitats, sometimes considered an important component of forest canopy avifauna, were underrepresented at both sites in comparison to null expectations drawn from the pool of species in each region. Long-distance migrants were more important in Honduras, where they constituted a third of canopy birds, yet species richness of migrants did not differ from a null expectation. Finally, we present a baseline classification of the core constituent species of bird assemblages in the canopy of lowland neotropical rainforests.

Photos of Honduras Birds


In Honduras, we are indebted to field assistants Luis Soto, Mike Beard, and Juan Gomez. The Corporación Hondureña de Desarrollo Forestal kindly granted research permits. Funding and material support were provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development´s Manejo Integrado de Recursos Ambientales (MIRA) project, the Cleveland Zoological Society´s Small Grants Program, the Explorers Club, Eagle Optics, Louisiana State University Museum of Natural Science Big Day Fund, Louisiana State University BioGrads, Global Forest Science (GF-18-2008-266) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act funds administered by the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory. Logistical support was provided by the MIRA project and Fundación Pico Bonito. In Brazil, we thank the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia (INPA) and the Ecology Department for providing logistical and financial support (PPI 1-3200) throughout the project. We are specially indebted to Renato Cintra, Jeff Chambers, Mario Cohn-Haft, Niro Higuchi, and the many rangers who assisted LNN in the field. LNN was fully supported by a fellowship from the Brazilian Research Council (CNPq). J. Sebastian Tello, S. Wong, and K. Harms provided assistance with statistical analyses. This manuscript benefited from comments by J. V. Remsen, Jr., P. Stouffer, and two anonymous reviewers.

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