Seasonal Distribution and Range of the

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Seasonal Distribution and Range of the
Seasonal Distribution and Range of the Blackish-Blue Seedeater
(Amaurospiza moesta): A Bamboo-Associated Bird
Author(s) :Leonardo Esteves Lopes, João Batista De Pinho, and Carlos Eduardo
R.T. Benfica
Source: The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, 123(4):797-802. 2011.
Published By: The Wilson Ornithological Society
DOI:
URL: http://www.bioone.org/doi/full/10.1676/10-153.1
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The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 123(4):797–802, 2011
SEASONAL DISTRIBUTION AND RANGE OF THE BLACKISH-BLUE
SEEDEATER (AMAUROSPIZA MOESTA):
A BAMBOO-ASSOCIATED BIRD
LEONARDO ESTEVES LOPES,1,4 JOÃO BATISTA DE PINHO,2 AND
CARLOS EDUARDO R. T. BENFICA3
ABSTRACT.—Avian bamboo specialists are an ecologically distinctive group of birds in the Neotropics with some
seedeater species having nomadic movements following bamboo (Guadua, Chusquea or Rhipidocladum) mast seeding. We
reviewed the range and seasonal distribution of Blackish-blue Seedeaters (Amaurospiza moesta) using published and
unpublished records, museum specimens, sound libraries, and intensive field work. We report the first occurrence of
Blackish-blue Seedeaters in the Brazilian State of Mato Grosso, a male collected in Fazenda Baı́a de Pedra, Cáceres (16u
279 290 S, 58u 099 590 W). We also recorded this species in two localities in the Cerrado region (a tropical savannah) of
Minas Gerais: the Santo Antonio River, Presidente Olegário (18u 079 480 S, 46u 119 570 W), and the Abaeté River, São
Gonçalo do Abaeté (18u 059 S, 45u 229 W). These records represent a remarkable range extension, demonstrating this
species is distributed across the Cerrado. We found no evidence of regular large scale or local movements of this species,
which seems to be resident, at least in Argentina, which had the largest data set. Received 15 September 2010. Accepted 4
April 2011.
Amaurospiza is a small and homogeneous
neotropical genus of mid-size finches generally
associated with bamboo (Guadua, Chusquea or
Rhipidocladum) thickets and dense forest undergrowth (Ridgely and Tudor 1989, Stotz et al.
1996, Lentino and Restall 2003). Avian bamboo
specialists generally have two distinct life-history
strategies. The first is exhibited by insectivorous
resident species that inhabit forests dominated by
bamboo, where they find shelter, nest sites, and
food (Parker et al. 1997, Areta et al. 2009). The
second is specialization on bamboo seeds, which
is a rarer strategy, because these specialists must
rely on an ephemeral source of food (Areta et al.
2009). This is because most woody bamboo
species are semelparous (individuals have only a
single period of reproduction in their lives, after
which they die) with simultaneous flowering and
subsequent death of entire populations that, in
certain American bamboos, occur in cycles of 30–
40 years (Janzen 1976, Judziewicz et al. 1999,
Bystriakova et al. 2004). Bamboo seed specialists,
therefore, wander to survive, and nomadic move1
Laboratório de Zoologia, Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Campus Florestal, Rodovia
LMG-818, km 6, 35690-000, Florestal, Minas Gerais,
Brazil.
2
Núcleo de Estudos Ecológicos do Pantanal, IB,
Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso, Av. Fernando
Corrêa, 78075-960, Cuiabá, Mato Grosso, Brazil.
3
SOS Falconiformes, Rua Odilon Braga 1370, 30310390, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
4
Corresponding author; e-mail: [email protected]
ments make these species particularly difficult to
study (Areta et al. 2009). Nomadic movements
differ markedly from regular migration, which is
predictable and seasonal. Nomadic movements
are irregular, and destinations may differ from
year to year, revealing an adaptation to use of
resources that are patchy in space and time
(Sinclair 1984).
The most widely distributed Amaurospiza
species is the near-threatened Blackish-blue
Seedeater (A. moesta) (Birdlife International
2010). Habitat requirements and movements of
this species are poorly known, making it a high
conservation and research priority (Stotz et al.
1996). The range of Blackish-blue Seedeaters is
still imperfectly known, and it is erroneously
considered endemic to the Atlantic Forest (Stotz
et al. 1996), a tropical forest mainly distributed
across eastern Brazil, considered as a hotspot of
biodiversity (Myers et al. 2000). An isolated
occurrence of Blackish-blue Seedeaters in the
Cerrado is known since Snethlage (1928) who
collected a single male in the southern Brazilian
State of Maranhão (Hellmayr 1929). The Cerrado
is a tropical savannah mainly distributed across
central Brazil, also acknowledged as a hotspot of
biodiversity (Myers et al. 2000). This ‘extralimital’ occurrence, 800 km from the Atlantic Forest
border, and 1,400 km from the nearest known
occurrence at that time, was recently corroborated
by observations in the northern border of the
Cerrado (Pacheco et al. 2007).
Seasonal distribution of this species has not
797
798
THE WILSON JOURNAL OF ORNITHOLOGY N Vol. 123, No. 4, December 2011
been investigated in detail, and it has been
suggested that all Amaurospiza are nomadic to
some extent (Lentino and Restall 2003). The
Blackish-blue Seedeater feeds mainly on seeds,
but it does not appear to be an obligatory
specialist on bamboo seeds (Areta et al. 2009);
consequently, it may not need to wander to
survive. Records of this species in extreme
southern Brazil are concentrated in some months
of the year (Belton 1994) and the possibility that it
performs regular seasonal migration has not been
investigated. We reviewed the range of the
Blackish-blue Seedeater and present noteworthy
range extensions. We studied its seasonal distribution, looking for evidence of regular large scale
movements in latitude, longitude, or elevation.
The possibility of nomadic movements by this
species was also briefly considered.
METHODS
Several sources of data were used to identify
the range of Blackish-blue Seedeaters. We (1)
compiled our unpublished field records and those
obtained by several experienced observers; (2)
performed a wide literature review; (3) visited
nine Brazilian and three North American museums; (4) wrote to curators of another four
Brazilian and five European museums; (5)
checked the on-line data bases of many other
museums, and (6) checked for tape recordings in
three sound libraries. Geographical coordinates
were obtained from ornithological gazetteers
(Paynter 1989, 1995; Paynter and Traylor 1991).
We also benefited from a wide review by L. P.
Gonzaga when he sketched an account of
this species for the American birds Red Data
Book (Collar et al. 1992), which was later not
included.
We examined the seasonal distribution of this
species from three bivariate plots with the month
along the x-axis and latitude, longitude, and elevation
along the y-axis. Seasonal concentration of records in
some areas of the plot should provide evidence for
regular long-distance or altitudinal migration.
Small scale or nomadic movements are more
difficult to study, requiring long-term bird monitoring programs, which are lacking for Blackishblue Seedeaters. Evidence of local fluctuations in
abundance of this species can be obtained by
examining the monthly variation in number of
collected specimens in the Province of Misiones,
Argentina, which has the largest series of this
species. We are aware these data are sensitive to
bias in collecting effort. We circumvented this
problem by making comparisons between the
number of Blackish-blue Seedeaters and Bufffronted Foliage-gleaners (Philydor rufum) collected throughout the year. This latter is a forest
species (Remsen 2003) that also inhabits areas
with extensive growth of bamboo (Rodrigues et
al. 1994). We used Spearman Rank Order
Correlation (Sokal and Rohlf 1995) to investigate
if numbers of collected specimens of both species
were correlated. A strong correlation should
suggest that monthly variation in the abundance
of Blackish-blue Seedeaters is attributable to
collecting effort and that, consequently, it is a
resident species, as is the Buff-fronted Foliagegleaner.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Blackish-blue Seedeaters range from southeastern Brazil (eastern Minas Gerais and Rio de
Janeiro southward) to southeastern Paraguay and
northeastern Argentina in the Atlantic Forest
(Fig. 1; a complete list of the occurrences of this
species, including unacceptable records is available upon request from the senior author). It also
occurs in the Cerrado region in the states of
Maranhão (Hellmayr 1929), Tocantins (Pacheco
et al. 2007), and Mato Grosso do Sul (Silva
1995b). We present the first records for the
Cerrado from Minas Gerais and the first state
record for Mato Grosso.
The first Minas Gerais record was obtained in
the Santo Antônio River (18u 079 480 S, 46u 119
570 W, 680 m asl), municipality of Presidente
Olegário. A single male was observed singing on
2 March 2009 and a female was mist-netted the
following day. Both individuals were photographed. Local vegetation was a second growth
riparian forest (4–9 m tall) with dense understory
dominated by an unidentified bamboo species
bearing seeds. A second record was obtained on
22 October 2010 by Eduardo Gazzinelli (pers.
comm.) on the Abaeté River (18u 059 S, 45u 229
W, 635 m asl), municipality of São Gonçalo do
Abaeté (tape-record deposited in XC 67339;
acronyms in Table 1). These localities are
,90 km apart.
The Mato Grosso record was obtained on 24
February 2008, when we tape-recorded (ASEC
16382 and XC 21052) the typical song of this
species in the Fazenda Baı́a de Pedra (16u 279 290
S, 58u 099 590 W, 110 m asl), municipality of
Cáceres (Fig. 1). This area is in the northern
Lopes et al. N DISTRIBUTION OF BLACKISH-BLUE SEEDEATER
799
FIG. 1. The range of the Blackish-blue Seedeater (Amaurospiza moesta). Black dots indicate occurrences in the
Atlantic Forest and white boxes with dots indicate occurrences in the Cerrado: 1 5 Tranqueira (Hellmayr 1929), 2 5
Fazenda Harmonia (Silva 1995b), 3 5 Lizarda, 4 5 Santa Maria do Tocantins, 5 5 Miracema do Tocantins (Pacheco et al.
2007), 6 5 Fazenda Baı́a de Pedra (this study), 7 5 Santo Antonio River (this study), and 8 5 Abaeté River (this study).
Gray tones indicate the main vegetation types (Olson et al. 2001).
border of Brazilian Pantanal, the world largest
floodplain (Silva et al. 2001). The tape-recorded
bird was collected and deposited in the collection
of DZUFMG (# 5771). This specimen weighed
14.5 g, and had an ossified skull, enlarged testes
(9 3 6 mm), and light fat indicating breeding
condition and likely breeding activities in the
area. The collection site was formerly an unflooded tall semideciduous to deciduous forest,
logged about 40 years ago and converted into
800
THE WILSON JOURNAL OF ORNITHOLOGY N Vol. 123, No. 4, December 2011
TABLE 1. Acronyms of institutions visited or consulted and location.
Acronym
AMNH
ASEC
CM
COMB
DZUFMG
FMNH
IAL
LACM
LSUMZ
MACN
MBML
MCN-FZB
MCN-PUCRS
MHNCI
ML
MNRJ
MPEG
MZJH
MZJMO
MZUSP
NHM
NMW
NRM
RECOR
UFMT
UFPE
UMMZ
USNM
XC
ZFMK
ZMB
Institution
Location
American Museum of Natural History
Arquivo Sonoro Elias Coelho
Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Coleção Ornitológica Marcelo Bagno, Universidade de Brası́lia
Departamento de Zoologia, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
Field Museum of Natural History
Coleção Zoológica de Referência do Instituto Adolfo Lutz
Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History
Louisiana State University Museum of Natural Science
Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales Bernardino Rivadavia
Museu de Biologia Professor Mello Leitão
Museu de Ciências Naturais da Fundação Zoobotânica do Rio
Grande do Sul
Museu de Ciências Naturais, Pontifı́cia Universidade Católica do
Rio Grande do Sul
Museu de História Natural Capão do Imbuia
Macaulay Library of Sounds
Museu Nacional
Museu Paraense Emı́lio Goeldi
Museu de Zoologia José Hidasi
Museu de Zoologia João Moojen de Oliveira, Universidade Federal
de Viçosa
Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo
Natural History Museum
Naturhistorisches Museum
Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet
Reserva Ecológica do Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatı́stica
Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco
University of Michigan Museum of Zoology
National Museum of Natural History
Xeno-Canto Foundation
Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig
Museum für Naturkunde
pastures and rice plantations (Luciano Arruda,
pers. comm.). The area was abandoned ,25 years
ago, and is now covered by a dense stand of 3-m
tall Guadua bamboo, a common invasive species
in the region. This same bamboo stand produced
fruits in 2007, accordingly to local owners, but we
did not observe seeds when we visited the area.
The range of Blackish-blue Seedeaters is
puzzling with scattered occurrences in regions
subject to several different climatic regimes,
elevation, and vegetation types. This species
appears to be absent or rare in extensive areas of
apparently suitable habitat in southeastern Brazil.
The patchy distribution of Blackish-blue Seedeaters across the Cerrado may also be due to
sampling effort, because ,70% of it has not been
satisfactorily sampled for birds (Silva 1995a).
Particularly poorly sampled is the central-north
New York, NY, USA
Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Brası́lia, DF, Brazil
Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil
Chicago, IL, USA
São Paulo, SP, Brazil
Los Angeles, CA, USA
Baton Rouge, LA, USA
Buenos Aires, MIS, Argentina
Santa Teresa, ES, Brazil
Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
Curitiba, PR, Brazil
Ithaca, NY, USA
Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
Belém, PA, Brazil
Porto Nacional, TO, Brazil
Viçosa, MG, Brazil
São Paulo, SP, Brazil
Tring, United Kingdom
Wien, Austria
Stockholm, Sweden
Brası́lia, DF, Brazil
Cuiabá, MT, Brazil
Recife, PE, Brazil
Ann Arbor, MI, USA
Washington, D.C., USA
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Bonn, Germany
Berlin, Germany
and western portion, where extensive areas
dominated by Guadua woody bamboos occur
(Bystriakova et al. 2004: map 3.4). These regions
are poorly sampled as demonstrated by several
first reports of Kaempfer’s Woodpecker (Celeus
obrieni), a bamboo specialist, until quite recently
known only from its type specimen collected in
1926 (Dornas et al. 2011).
The Blackish-blue Seedeater seems to be
common in its limited range in Argentina (Chebez
2009). William Partridge collected more than 140
Blackish-blue Seedeaters in Misiones in the 1950s
(Partridge 1953, 1954). In contrast we located
,50 skins of this specimen from throughout its
range outside Misiones.
We found no evidence of regular large scale
movements in latitude, longitude or elevation by
this species, as demonstrated by three bivariate
Lopes et al. N DISTRIBUTION OF BLACKISH-BLUE SEEDEATER
plots, which revealed no seasonal concentration of
records in some areas of the plot. We found no
evidence of regular movements between the
Atlantic Forest and the Cerrado. Records of
Blackish-blue Seedeaters in the Cerrado are from
January, February, March, April, July, August,
September, and October (Hellmayr 1929, Silva
1995b, Pacheco et al. 2007, this study).
Blackish-blue Seedeaters have been recorded
throughout the year in Misiones. There are, for
example, specimens collected in every month of
the year in Arroyo Uruguay-ı́, a well sampled
locality. Differences in number of collected
specimens in Misiones through the year are
probably attributable to collecting efforts, as
demonstrated by the positive correlation between
numbers of collected specimens of Buff-fronted
Foliage-gleaners and Blackish-blue Seedeaters
(Spearman Rank Order Correlation; n 5 12, R
5 0.63, P 5 0.03). Data available for Brazil are
scarce, and does not allow a similar analysis.
However, in the State of Paraná, which provides
the majority of Brazilian records, there are records
for all months of the year, except December. We
cannot reject the hypothesis of nomadic movements with the data available, but we found no
evidence of regular large scale or local movements, suggesting this species is a year-round
resident, at least in Argentina.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
LEL benefited from a doctoral fellowship from FAPEMIG during part of this study. Our field work was
supported by grants from Núcleo de Estudos Ecológicos
do Pantanal, Centro de Pesquisa do Pantanal, Instituto
Nacional de Áreas Úmidas, and Ministério da Ciência e
Tecnologia. Visits to North American museums were made
possible through a Collection Study Grant received by LEL
from AMNH. Luciano Arruda allowed our study in Cáceres
and provided logistic support. Pedro Viana kindly identified
the bamboo species, and Guilherme Freitas compared
DZUFMG specimens with others housed in MNRJ. We
thank IBAMA for providing a collection permit (14496-1).
Eduardo Gazzinelli, Luiz dos Anjos, Luiz Gonzaga, Silvana
Luçolli, Gustavo Malacco, Manuel Nores, José Fernando
Pacheco, Mark Pearman, Nelson Pérez, Renato Pineschi,
Bret Whitney, Andrew Whittaker, and Darı́o Yzurieta
shared unpublished field records with us. Curators who
provided us with facilities to study their collections were:
Miguel Marini (COMB); Marcos Rodrigues (DZUFMG);
Hélio Fernandes (MBML); Marcos Raposo and Jorge
Nacinovic (MNRJ); Alexandre Aleixo and Fátima Lima
(MPEG); Luis Fábio Silveira (MZUSP); Advaldo Prado
(MZJH); Renato Feio (MZJMO); Marina Resende (RECOR); Joel Cracraft, Paul Sweet, and Margaret Hart
(AMNH); Brad Livezey and Stephen Rogers (CM); and
801
Storrs Olson and Brian Schmidt (USNM). The following
curators kindly sent data on specimens housed in their
collections: Roberta Rodrigues (UFPE), Pedro Scherer Neto
(MHNCI), Carla Fontana (MCN-PUCRS), Glayson Bencke
(MCN-FZB), Ernst Bauernfeind (NMW), Göran Frisk
(NRM), Sylke Frahnert (ZMB), Karl-Ludwig Schuchmann
(ZFMK), and Robert Prys-Jones (NHM). The following
museums kindly made available on-line data on specimens
housed in their collections at the SpeciesLink (http://splink.
cria.org.br/) or at the ORNIS (http://ornisnet.org) portals:
LACM, UMMZ, FMNH, and IAL. Luiz Gonzaga sent data
on tape recordings deposited in the sound archive under his
care (ASEC), as well as a compilation of records of this
species. XC (http://www.xeno-canto.org) and ML (http://
macaulaylibrary.org/index.do) kindly made available online their sound archives. C. E. Braun, Peter Vickery, Gary
Ritchison, Robin Restall, Juan Areta, Marcelo Vasconcelos,
and an anonymous reviewer provided useful comments on
previous versions of this manuscript.
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