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Etude d'une succession terrestre en milieu tropical: les relations entre la physionomie vegetale et la structure du peuplement avien en mangrove guyanaise


, : Etude d'une succession terrestre en milieu tropical: les relations entre la physionomie vegetale et la structure du peuplement avien en mangrove guyanaise. Revue d'Ecologie la Terre et la Vie, 414: 315-342

The relationships between bird community structure and habitat structure were studied along a gradient of successional changes in the mangrove of French Guiana. Sites representative of seven seral stages were sampled. The White Mangle (Avicennia germinans) is dominant in all mangrove profiles, from the sub-pioneer to the oldest stage. Further away from the river bank, a stage characterized by a larger number of Red Mangles (Rhizophora sp.), preceeds stage 6, distinguished by the presence of a large number of palms (Euterpe oleracea) and of trees bearing fleshy fruits, all characteristic of the swamp forest that replaces the mangrove when the oldest Avicennia die out. Seventy five species of birds (waterbirds, raptors, swifts and swallows excepted) were found to be associated with these successional stages. A marked change in bird community structure was found to take place at stages 5 and 6, when the occurrence of trees bearing fleshy fruits provides new feeding opportunities for frugivorous species. The progressive increase of frugivorous birds along the gradient is shown on figure 6. As a matter of fact, both changes in vegetation structure and floristic composition explain the changes observed in bird community structure. .mchlt. Foliage Stratification Diversity Index .mchgt. is the best descriptor for bird diversity in this kind of habitat. Along with common mangrove birds such as the Black-crested Antshrike (Sakesphorus canadensis) or the Bicolored Conebill (Conirostrum bicolor), the Blakish-grey Antshrike (Thamnophilus nigrocinereus) was found to be characteristic of the mangrove ecosystem of French Guiana. Some diurnal raptors proved also to be valuable indicators of this kind of habitat, for instance the Rufous Crab Hawk (Buteogallus aequinoctialis) at stages 3 to 5, or the Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture (Cathartes burrovianus) and the Slate-coloured Hawk (Leucopternis schistacea) at more mature stages.

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