Periódicos Brasileiros em Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia

Birds from open environments in the caatinga from state of Alagoas, northeastern Brazil

Farias Pereira de Araujo, HelderCosta Rodrigues, Roberta

Even though the caatinga has been identified as an important area of endemism for South American birds, few studies have been conducted on the distribution, evolution and ecology of birds in this biome. Understanding how habitats contribute to maintain the regional bird diversity is extremely important. In this study, carried out in the backwoods of the state of Alagoas, we present a rapid survey of a caatinga area and discuss the composition of the avifauna in different habitats. From the record of 105 species, we estimated a local richness of 120 (± 5) species. Among the areas surveyed, the dense caatinga shrub areas contributed with more than 42% of the species, holding most of the forest-dependent birds. The open field areas and the vegetation patches contributed 26 and 24% of the observed richness, respectively. The bird community at the vegetation patches is more similar to that registered in the open caatinga shrub areas, than to the fauna of the open fields where these patches are located. Our results support the need to conserve environments which harbor typical caatinga vegetation, and also vegetation patches with those characteristics in greatly altered environments.

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