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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*
Affiliation:
Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, 14 Science Drive 4, Singapore 117543, Republic of Singapore
Lan Qie
Affiliation:
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
Affiliation:
Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, 14 Science Drive 4, Singapore 117543, Republic of Singapore
Lian Pin Koh
Affiliation:
Institute of Terrestrial Ecosystems, ETH Zürich, CHN G 74.2, Universitätstrasse 16, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland
Kelvin S.-H. Peh
Affiliation:
Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, UK
Tien Ming Lee
Affiliation:
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
Affiliation:
Department of Biological Sciences & Museum of Natural Science, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, 70803, USA
Susan L.-H. Lim
Affiliation:
Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
*
1Corresponding author. Email: zoothera@yahoo.com

Abstract:

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.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

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