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Habitat-Specific Guild Structure of Forest Birds in South-Eastern Australia: A Regional Scale Perspective
Ralph Mac Nally
Journal of Animal Ecology
Vol. 63, No. 4 (Oct., 1994), pp. 988-1001
Published by: British Ecological Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/5275
Page Count: 14
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1. The feeding guild is a useful tool for analysing community structure. Unfortunately, although there has been much work done on guilds of forest and woodland birds, there have been few studies in which differences between habitats have been assayed for consistency of guild structure. This can be done only by surveying replicate sites of each habitat type because this yields an indication of similarity between sites of the same class of habitat. If guild structure differs little between each replicate site, then one has confidence that that structure meaningfully characterizes the habitat type in question. 2. In this study, foraging information is used to produce a guild classification for birds of forests and woodlands of central Victoria, Australia. Four replicate sites of five forest and woodland classes were censused. 3. Guild structures in two habitat classes (open woodlands of the Goulburn River valley, and Gippsland manna gum Eucalyptus pryoriana woodlands) were distinct from both each other and also from those of three other habitat types (montane forests, foothill woodlands, and box-ironbark dominated forests). There was little differentiation between the latter three habitat types. 4. Much the same guild structure occurred in replicate sites of each habitat class, indicating that there is a systematic basis for guild structure that can be broadly related to habitat structure. In some habitats, maintenance of guild structure from replicate to replicate is mediated by similar arrays of species, whilst in other habitat types, there are significant differences in the actual species occupying guilds even though numbers of species in each guild are similar. Thus, use of replicate sites provides important additional information on how guilds are composed in different habitats.
Journal of Animal Ecology © 1994 British Ecological Society