Abundance and movement of understory birds in a maulino forest fragmented by pine plantations
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Understory birds are especially vulnerable to habitat fragmentation because of the reduction in habitat quality and bird movement. We study the separate effects of understory, overstory and landscape on four understory birds (tapaculos), in Central Chile, comprising a landscape mosaic of pine (Pinus radiata D. Don) plantations and native Maulino forest fragments. We also determined whether habitats with poor understory could be barrier to tapaculos movements. Abundance was measured using stationary playbacks and habitat barrier through playbacks. Understory structure was the main factor that predicted tapaculos presence and abundance. Two species, the Andean Tapaculo (Scytalopus magellanicus fuscus Gmelin) and the Ochre-flanked Tapaculo (Eugralla paradoxa Kittlitz), were positively associated with dead pine branches and negatively to forest fragment size. Tapaculos were less abundant in mature native forest, but appeared willing to cross between different habitat types. However, the Chestnut-throated Huet-huet (Pteroptochos castaneus Philippi and Landbeck), did not move from forest fragments to pine with poor understory. Overall, tapaculos species varied in their response to fragmentation depending on their habitat selection and movement capacities.