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Avifauna of a Lowland Forest Site on Isabel, Solomon Islands

Andrew W. Kratter, David W. Steadman, Catherine E. Smith, Christopher E. Filardi and Horace P. Webb
The Auk
Vol. 118, No. 2 (Apr., 2001), pp. 472-483
DOI: 10.2307/4089807
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4089807
Page Count: 12
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Avifauna of a Lowland Forest Site on Isabel, Solomon Islands
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Abstract

We provide the first comprehensive description of a bird community from a lowland rainforest site on a major island in the Solomon Islands. During two dry season visits (July 1997, June 1998) to the lower Garanga River valley on the island of Isabel, we recorded 65 resident and 6 migrant species of birds. We document relative abundances, habitat preferences, and foraging guilds for the members of the bird community. The Garanga River site sustains all but 11 of the 76 species of landbirds known from Isabel. Of those 11 species, four are small-island or beach specialists, three are montane, and four are of unknown status. Habitat heterogeneity, maintained largely by river dynamics, is a major contributor to avian diversity at the site. The avifauna is dominated by nonpasserines, especially parrots, pigeons, kingfishers, and hawks. The flightless rail Nesoclopeus woodfordi, previously regarded as rare and threatened with extinction, was common. We recorded Ixobrychus flavicollis, Falco severus, and Eudynamys scolopacea for the first time on Isabel. We also documented occurrence in the lowlands of Micropsitta finschii, Collocalia spodiopygia, Coracina caledonica, and Pachycephala pectoralis, four species previously thought to be confined to upper elevations on Isabel. The depauperate understory avifauna of the Garanga River site may be anthropogenic and could belie what otherwise seems to be an intact avifauna.

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