Honduras Birds

Honduras and the Pico Bonito Rainforest offers birdwatchers an incredible opportunity to see an almost unlimited number of both native aves and migratory birds. 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.


Bird species which are rarely seen elsewhere, (lovely cotinga, keel-billed m2tmot, 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


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 forestcanopy 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.

Aves de los Bosques


Las aves del dosel del bosque son un componente integral de las comunidades de aves de los bosques neotropicales pero continúan en gran medida desconocidas, impidiendo cualquier caracterización amplia de sus ensambles. Presentamos la primera descripción de un ensamble de aves del dosel de Centroamérica y, sobre la base de >11 000 detecciones en los bosques lluviosos de tierras bajas de Honduras y la Amazonía de Brasil, comparamos dos ensambles distantes de aves del dosel. La riqueza de aves del dosel en los dos sitios fue similar a pesar de que en Brasil la riqueza de aves de bosque es mucho mayor. Más aún, las distribuciones de abundancia difirieron significativamente: en Honduras el ensamble fue dominado por un pequeño número de especies súper abundantes y tuvo menos especies raras, mientras que en Brasil presentó menos especies abundantes y fue por ende más equitativo.


Los omnívoros e insectívoros dominaron el ensamble, pero los omnívoros fueron numéricamente más abundantes. Las especies de los bordes del bosque y de los ambientes abiertos, a veces consideradas un componente importante de la avifauna del dosel del bosque, estuvieron sub-representadas en ambos sitios en comparación con las expectativas nulas derivadas de las especies existentes en la región. Las especies migratorias de larga distancia fueron más importantes en Honduras, donde representaron un tercio de las aves del dosel, aunque la riqueza de especies de aves migratorias no difirió de una expectativa nula. Finalmente, presentamos una clasificación de base de las especies que constituyen el núcleo de los ensambles de aves en el dosel de los bosques lluviosos neotropicales de tierras bajas.

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 Societyt´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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