Hostname: page-component-5d59c44645-kw98b Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-02-29T19:09:22.068Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Do insectivorous bird communities decline on land-bridge forest islands in Peninsular Malaysia?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 December 2010

Ding Li Yong*
Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, 14 Science Drive 4, Singapore 117543, Republic of Singapore
Lan Qie
Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, 14 Science Drive 4, Singapore 117543, Republic of Singapore Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Menglun, Yunnan 666303, China
Navjot S. Sodhi
Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, 14 Science Drive 4, Singapore 117543, Republic of Singapore
Lian Pin Koh
Institute of Terrestrial Ecosystems, ETH Zürich, CHN G 74.2, Universitätstrasse 16, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland
Kelvin S.-H. Peh
Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, UK
Tien Ming Lee
Division of Biological Sciences, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA92093-0116, USA Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA
Haw Chuan Lim
Department of Biological Sciences & Museum of Natural Science, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, 70803, USA
Susan L.-H. Lim
Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
1Corresponding author. Email:


To assess the impact of habitat fragmentation on tropical avian communities, we sampled lowland forest birds on six land-bridge islands and two mainland forest sites in Lake Kenyir, Peninsular Malaysia using timed point counts, hypothesizing that insectivorous birds are the worst affected guild. We used an information-theoretic approach to evaluate the effects of area, isolation, primary dietary guild (omnivore, frugivore and insectivore) and their interactions in predicting species richness, abundance and diversity. Our analysis showed that a model that considered the effects of area, dietary guild and their interaction best explained observed patterns of species richness. But a model considering both area and dietary guild best explained the variation in abundance. Notably, insectivorous birds were singled out as the dietary guild most sensitive to fragmentation, followed by frugivorous and omnivorous birds and hence provide support for our hypothesis. Assemblages of insectivorous birds were clearly depauperate on anthropogenic forest islands in Lake Kenyir and are consistent with forest fragmentation studies in the Neotropics. Given their specialized foraging ecology and diversity, conservation of intact communities of insectivorous bird guilds in Malaysia will be critical for maintaining predator–prey interactions in lowland tropical forests.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)



ACHARD, F., EVA, H. D., STIBIG, H. J., MAYAUX, P., GALLEGO, J., RICHARDS, T. & MALINGREAU, J. 2002. Determination of deforestation rates of the world's humid tropical forests. Science 297;9991002.Google Scholar
ANTONGIOVANNI, M. & METZGER, J. P. 2005. Influence of matrix habitats on the occurrence of insectivorous bird species in Amazonian forest fragments. Biological Conservation 122:441451.Google Scholar
ARRIAGA-WEISS, S. L., CALME, S. & KAMPICHLER, C. 2008. Bird communities in rainforest fragments: guild responses to habitat variables in Tabasco, Mexico. Biodiversity and Conservation 17:173190.Google Scholar
BURKE, D. M. & NOL, E. 1998. Influence of food abundance, nest-site habitat, and forest fragmentation on breeding ovenbirds. The Auk 115:96104.Google Scholar
BURNHAM, K. P. & ANDERSON, D. R. 2002. Model selection and inference: a practical information-theoretic approach. (Second edition). Springer, New York. 353 pp.Google Scholar
CASTELLETA, M., THIOLLAY, J.-M. & SODHI, N. S. 2005. The effects of extreme forest fragmentation on the bird community of Singapore Island. Biological Conservation 121:135155.Google Scholar
COSSON, J. F., RINGUET, S., CLAESSENS, O., DE MASSARY, J. C., DALECKY, A., VILLIERS, J. F., GRANJON, L. & PONS, J. M. 1999. Ecological changes in recent land-bridge islands in French Guiana, with emphasis on vertebrate communities. Biological Conservation 91:213222.Google Scholar
DIAMOND, J. 2001. Dammed experiments! Science 294:18471848.Google Scholar
DIDHAM, R. K. 1997. An overview of invertebrate responses to forest fragmentation. Pp. 303320 in Watt, A., Stork, N. E. & Hunter, M. (ed.). Forests and insects. Chapman and Hall, London.Google Scholar
FERRAZ, G., NICHOLS, J. D., HINES, J. E., STOUFFER, P. C., BIERREGAARD, R. O. & LOVEJOY, T. E. 2007. A large-scale deforestation experiment: effects of patch area and isolation on Amazonian birds. Science 315:238241.Google Scholar
FOURNIER-CHAMBRILLON, C., FOURNIER, P., GAILLARD, J-M., GENTY, C., HANSEN, E. & VIE, J.-C. 2000. Mammal trap efficiency during the fragmentation by flooding of a Neotropical rainforest in French Guiana. Journal of Tropical Ecology 16:841851.Google Scholar
FURTADO, J. I., SOEPADMO, E., SASEKUMAR, A., LIM, R. P., ONG, S-L., DAVISON, G. W. H. & LIEW, K. S. 1977. Ecological effects of the Trengganu hydro-electric project. (Kenyir project). Wallaceana Supplement 1. University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur.Google Scholar
GIBBS, J. P. 1991. Avian nest predation in tropical wet forest: an experimental study. Oikos 60:155161.Google Scholar
GIRAUDO, A. R., MATTEUCCI, S. D., ALONSO, J., HERRERA, J. & ABRAMSON, S. D. 2008. Comparing bird assemblages in large and small fragments of the Atlantic forest hotspots. Biodiversity and Conservation 17:12511265.Google Scholar
GOODLAND, R. 1997. Environmental sustainability in the hydro industry: disaggregating the debate. Pp. 69102 in Dorcey, A. H. J., Steiner, A., Acreman, M. & Orlando, B. (ed.). Large dams: learning from the past, looking at the future. The World Conservation Union, Gland & Cambridge and The World Bank, Washington DC.Google Scholar
GOTELLI, N. J. & COLWELL, R. K. 2001. Quantifying biodiversity: procedures and pitfalls in the measurement and comparison of species richness. Ecology Letters 4:379391.Google Scholar
GRAY, M. A., BALDAUF, S. L., MAYHEW, P. J. & HILL, J. K. 2007. The response of avian feeding guilds to tropical forest disturbance. Conservation Biology 21:133141.Google Scholar
KARR, J. R. 1982. Avian extinctions on Barro Colorado island, Panama: a reassessment. American Naturalist 119:220239.Google Scholar
KINNAIRD, M. F. & O'BRIEN, T. G. 2007. The ecology and conservation of Asian hornbills. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. 315 pp.Google Scholar
LAMBERT, F. R. 1989a. Pigeons as seed predators and dispersers of figs in a Malaysian lowland forest. Ibis 131:521527.Google Scholar
LAMBERT, F. R. 1989b. Fig-eating by birds in a Malaysian lowland forest. Journal of Tropical Ecology 5:401412.Google Scholar
LAMBERT, F. R. & COLLAR, N. J. 2002. The future for Sundaic lowland forest birds: long-term effects of commercial logging and fragmentation. Forktail 18:127146.Google Scholar
LAURANCE, S. G. W., STOUFFER, P. C. & LAURANCE, W. F. 2004. Effects of road clearings on movement patterns of understorey rainforest birds in central Amazonia. Conservation Biology 18:10991109.Google Scholar
LAURANCE, W. F., LOVEJOY, T. E., VASCONCELOS, H. L., BRUMA, E. M., DIDHAM, R. J., STOUFFER, P. C., GASCON, C., BIERREGAARD, R. O., LAURANCE, S. G. & SAMPAIO, E. 2002. Ecosystem decay of Amazonian forest fragments: a 22-year investigation. Conservation Biology 16:605618.Google Scholar
LEES, A. C. & PERES, C. A. 2008. Avian life-history determinants of local extinction risk in a hyper-fragmented Neotropical forest landscape. Animal Conservation 11:128137.Google Scholar
LEES, A. C. & PERES, C. A. 2009. Gap-crossing movements predict species occupancy in Amazonian forest fragments. Oikos 118:280290.Google Scholar
LIM, K. S. 2009. The avifauna of Singapore. Nature Society (Singapore), Singapore. 611 pp.Google Scholar
MAGURRAN, A. E. 1988. Ecological diversity and its measurement. Princeton University Press, Princeton. 256 pp.Google Scholar
MARSDEN, S. J., WHIFFIN, M. & GALLETI, M. 2001. Bird diversity and abundance in forest fragments and Eucalyptus plantations around an Atlantic forest reserve, Brazil. Biodiversity and Conservation 10;737751.Google Scholar
MITRA, S. S. & SHELDON, F. H. 1993. Use of an exotic tree plantation by Borneo lowland forest birds. The Auk 110:529540.Google Scholar
MOORE, R. P., ROBINSON, W. D., LOVETTE, I. J. & ROBINSON, T. R. 2008. Experimental evidence for extreme dispersal limitation in tropical forest birds. Ecology Letters 11:960968.Google Scholar
NICHOLS, J. D., BOULINIER, T., HINES, J. E., POLLOCK, K. H. & SAUER, J. R. 1998. Inference methods for spatial variation in species richness and community composition when not all species are detected. Conservation Biology 12:13901398.Google Scholar
PATTANAVIBOOL, A. & DEARDEN, P. 2002. Fragmentation and wildlife in montane evergreen forests, northern Thailand. Biological Conservation 107:155164.Google Scholar
PEH, K. S.-H., SODHI, N. S., DE JONG, J., SEKERCIOĞLU, C. H., YAP, C. A.-M. & LIM, S. L.-H. 2006. Conservation value of degraded habitats for forest birds in southern Peninsular Malaysia. Diversity and Distributions 12:572581.Google Scholar
RENJIFO, L. M. 1999. Composition changes in a Subandean avifauna after long-term forest fragmentation. Conservation Biology 13:11241139.Google Scholar
ROBINSON, W. C. 1999. Long-term changes in the avifauna of Barro Colorado island, Panama, a tropical forest isolate. Conservation Biology 13:8597.Google Scholar
ROBSON, C. 2002. A field guide to the birds of South-east Asia. New Holland Publishers (UK) Ltd, London. 304 pp.Google Scholar
SEKERCIOĞLU, C. 2007. Conservation ecology: area trumps mobility in fragment bird extinctions. Current Biology 17:283286.Google Scholar
SEKERCIOĞLU, C., EHRLICH, P. R., DAILY, G. C., AYGEN, D., GOEHRING, D. & SANDI, R. F. 2002. Disappearance of insectivorous birds from tropical forest fragments. Proceedings of the Academy of Sciences USA 99:263267.Google Scholar
SEKERCIOĞLU, C., LOARIE, S., OVIENDO BRENES, F., EHRLICH, P. R. & DAILY, G. C. 2007. Persistence of forest birds in the Costa Rican agricultural countryside. Conservation Biology 21:482494.Google Scholar
SIEVING, K. E. & KARR, J. R. 1997. Avian extinction and persistence mechanisms in lowland Panama. Pp. 156170 in Laurance, W. F. & Bierregaard, R. O. (ed.). Tropical forest remnants, ecology, management and conservation of fragmented communities. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
SODHI, N. S. & BROOK, B. W. 2006. Southeast Asian biodiversity in crisis. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 190 pp.Google Scholar
SODHI, N. S., KOH, L. P.. BROOK, B. W. & NG, P. K. L. 2004a. Southeast Asian biodiversity: an impending disaster. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 19:654660.Google Scholar
SODHI, N. S., LIOW, L. H. & BAZZAZ, F. A. 2004b. Avian extinctions in tropical and subtropical forests. Annual Reviews in Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 35:323345.Google Scholar
SODHI, N. S., POSA, M. R. C., LEE, T. M., BICKFORD, D., KOH, L. P. & BROOK, B. W. 2010. The state and conservation of South-east Asian biodiversity. Biodiversity and Conservation 19:317328.Google Scholar
STOUFFER, P. C. & BIERREGAARD, R. O. 1995. Use of Amazonian forest fragments by understorey insectivorous birds. Ecology 76:24292445.Google Scholar
STOUFFER, P. C., BIERREGAARD, R. O., STRONG, C. & LOVEJOY, T. E. 2006. Long-term landscape change and bird abundance in Amazonian rainforest fragments. Conservation Biology 20:12121223.Google Scholar
STRATFORD, J. A. & ROBINSON, W. D. 2005. Gulliver travels to the fragmented tropics: geographic variation in mechanisms of extinction. Frontiers in Ecology and Conservation 3:8592.Google Scholar
STRATFORD, J. A. & STOUFFER, P. C. 1999. Local extinctions of terrestrial insectivorous birds in a fragmented landscape near Manaus, Brazil. Conservation Biology 13:13161326.Google Scholar
TERBORGH, J., LOPEZ, L., TELLO, J., YU, D. & BRUNI, A. R. 1997. Transitory states in relaxing ecosystems of land-bridge islands. Pp. 256274 in Laurance, W. F. & Bierregaard, R. O. (ed.). Tropical forest remnants, ecology, management and conservation of fragmented communities. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
TOBIAS, J., DAVIDSON, P. & ROBICHAUD, W. 1998. Nakai-Nam Theun: can development save one of South-East Asia's last wildernesses? Oriental Bird Club Bulletin 28:2429.Google Scholar
WALTHER, B. A. & MARTIN, J. L. 2001. Species richness estimation of bird communities: how to control for sampling effort? Ibis 143:413419.Google Scholar
WALTHER, B. A. & MOORE, J. L. 2005. The concept of bias, precision and accuracy, and their use in testing the performance of species richness estimators, with a literature review of estimator performance. Ecography 28:815829.Google Scholar
WELLS, D. R. 1999. The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula. Non-Passerines. Academic Press, London. 704 pp.Google Scholar
WELLS, D. R. 2007. The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula. Passerines. Christopher Helm, London. 800 pp.Google Scholar
WILLIS, E. O. 1974. Populations and local extinctions of birds on Barro Colorado island, Panama. Ecological Monographs 44:153169.Google Scholar
WONG, M. 1986. Trophic organization of understorey birds in a Malaysian dipterocarp forest. The Auk 103:100116.Google Scholar
WONG, T. C. M., SODHI, N. S. & TURNER, I. M. 1998. Artificial nest and seed predation experiments in tropical lowland rainforest remnants of Singapore. Biological Conservation 85:97104.Google Scholar
WRIGHT, S. J. 2005. Tropical forests in a changing environment. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 20:553559.Google Scholar
WU, J., HUANG, J., HAN, X., XIE, Z. & GAO, X. 2003. Three-Gorges Dam – experiment in habitat fragmentation? Science 300:12391240.Google Scholar