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The avifauna of the Catimbau National Park, an important protected area in the Brazilian semiarid

Flor Maria Guedes Las-Casas, Iolanda Maria da Silva Pereira, Lilia D'ark Nunes dos Santos, Luciano Nicolás Naka

Abstract


The Catimbau National Park is a protected area, located within the Caatinga Dry Forest, in the central region of the Brazilian state of Pernambuco. This protected area encompasses ~60,000 ha of an exceptional diversity of habitats, resulting in a high avian diversity, including several rare and endemic species. The park is considered an area of high biological importance and of conservation priority. Despite its relevance for conservation, human degradation due to chronic anthropogenic disturbances (hunting, birds trapping, selective logging, and livestock grazing) has modified the park's natural environments. In 2014, we initiated avian inventories within the park, as part of a long-term ecological research (LTER). Although the avifauna of the park has been described before, our systematic surveys allowed us to have a better understating of the park's avifauna and resulted in several additions to the species list. Here, we update and reevaluate the park's avifauna, discuss the presence of resident and migratory species, and include comments on endemic and rare species that occur within the park's boundaries. We sampled the avifauna through systematic surveys (point counts) and opportunistic observations between 2014 and 2017, including both dry and rainy seasons. We recorded a total of 192 species, including 25 species new to the park's list. During our point counts, we detected 117 species in the dry season, whereas 34 were recorded exclusively during the rainy season. Nearly 10% of the park's avifauna (19 species) is represented by migratory species, such as Elaenia chilensis and Turdus amaurochalinus. Catimbau National Park is important for the conservation of the Caatinga avifauna, since it harbors endemic, range-restricted, migratory, and globally threatened species. Therefore, we emphasize that environmental education and ecological restoration projects, allied to enforcing environmental laws are urgent for the maintenance of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the Catimbau National Park.


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