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Winter bird assemblages across an aridity gradient in south-west Western Australia


, : Winter bird assemblages across an aridity gradient in south-west Western Australia. Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia 90(Part 4): 219-227

Avian assemblages of eight sites located along a 625km gradient across south-west Western Australia were recorded during the winters of 2004 and 2006. The total number of species observed was 92, with 10 sighted only in 2004, 14 sighted only in 2006, with the remaining 68 sighted during both survey periods. Measures of site species richness, diversity and evenness were determined for each site and for each sampling year and the turnover rates of avifauna species categorized as either sedentary or locally nomadic versus either migratory or nomadic between years were determined. The similarity between avifauna assemblages was determined by Detrended Correspondence Analysis and related to environmental data by correlation analysis and analysis of variance. Assemblage similarity between years at each site was greater than similarity between adjacent sites in the same year. However, avifauna similarity was related more to average annual precipitation than geographic proximity and was secondarily influenced by the presence of flowering trees and shrubs. There was no relationship between position on the geographic gradient and bird assemblage richness, diversity, evenness or dominance. Turnover rates between years of sampling of the regionally-nomadic and migratory species were significantly higher than sedentary and locally-nomadic species. A number of species showed discontinuous distributions in the central Wheatbelt, further documenting the impact of clearing on the avifauna of southwestern Western Australia.

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