Edge responses of tropical and temperate birds

Catherine A. Lindell, Samuel K. Riffell, Sara A. Kaiser, Andrea L. Battin, Michelle L. Smith, Thomas D. Sisk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Tropical birds may differ from temperate birds in their sensitivity to forest edges. We provide predictions about the proportions of tropical and temperate species that should avoid or exploit edges, and relationships between natural-history characters and edge responses. We conducted exploratory meta-analyses from 11 studies using 287 records of 220 neotropical and temperate species' responses to edges to address our predictions. A higher proportion of neotropical species were edge-avoiders compared with temperate species and a higher proportion of temperate species were edge-exploiters compared with neotropical species. Edge-avoiding responses were positively associated with being an insectivore for neotropical birds, and with being of small body mass and a latitudinal migrant for temperate birds. Temperate edge-exploiters were less likely to be insectivores and migrants than temperate birds that were not edge-exploiters. A greater proportion of neotropical birds than temperate birds may be at risk from forest fragmentation if edge-avoidance is a reasonable indicator of an inability to adapt to land-cover change. Future progress in our understanding of forest bird responses to edges is dependent upon greater standardization of methods and designing studies in the context of recent theoretical developments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-220
Number of pages16
JournalWilson Journal of Ornithology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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