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Movement ecology of the threatened Campo Miner Geositta poeciloptera and its implications for the conservation of tropical open grassland birds

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 December 2022

Leonardo E. Lopes*
Affiliation:
Laboratório de Biologia Animal, IBF, Universidade Federal de Viçosa – Campus Florestal, Florestal, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Ricardo C. de Meireles
Affiliation:
PPG Biologia Animal, CCB, Universidade Federal de Viçosa – Campus Viçosa, Viçosa, Brazil Currently at PPG Ecologia, Conservação e Manejo da Vida Silvestre, ICB, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Helberth José C. Peixoto
Affiliation:
PPG Biologia Animal, CCB, Universidade Federal de Viçosa – Campus Viçosa, Viçosa, Brazil Currently at 12 Breona Place, Canberra, Australia
João Paulo G. Teixeira
Affiliation:
PPG Biologia Animal, CCB, Universidade Federal de Viçosa – Campus Viçosa, Viçosa, Brazil Currently at CEEFMTI Governador Gerson Camara, São Gabriel da Palha, Espírito Santo, Brazil
Tamara Luciane de S. S. Machado
Affiliation:
PPG Manejo e Conservação de Ecossistemas Naturais e Agrários, Universidade Federal de Viçosa – Campus Florestal, Florestal, Minas Gerais, Brazil Currently at Projeto Com Ciência, São João del-Rei, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Vitor T. Lombardi
Affiliation:
PPG Manejo e Conservação de Ecossistemas Naturais e Agrários, Universidade Federal de Viçosa – Campus Florestal, Florestal, Minas Gerais, Brazil Currently at Rua Ana de Oliveira Silva, 130, São João del-Rei, Minas Gerais, Brazil
*
* Author for correspondence: Leonardo E. Lopes, Email: leo.cerrado@gmail.com

Summary

Understanding the types of movements exhibited by a threatened species is paramount for creating conservation and management strategies. The Campo Miner (Geositta poeciloptera) is a threatened obligate grassland bird endemic to the South American Cerrado. Literature disagrees about its movement ecology, with authors suggesting strategies as contradictory as residency and nomadism. The species requires short and sparse grass cover to breed and seems to be associated with fires, tracking recently burned grassland patches. We studied the movement ecology of marked Campo Miners for seven years, integrating our results with information from citizen science data, museum specimens, and the literature. After investigating every main movement strategy exhibited by bird populations, we found no evidence of regular migration in the species (e.g. altitudinal, short- or long-distance). The Campo Miner is a resident species with territorial behaviour restricted to the breeding season, which apparently results in seasonal variation in its detectability, biasing our perception about its seasonal abundance and distribution. We propose a theoretical framework for understanding local movements in the species, which predicts that Campo Miners: (1) establish their territories at the beginning of the breeding season in patches of suitable habitat; (2) stop defending their territories after the breeding season; (3) stay during the non-breeding season in their home ranges, also wandering across neighbouring home ranges; (4) abandon their home ranges if the grass cover becomes high and dense or when a better quality habitat patch becomes available, using fires as a cue for locating recently burned patches that will soon

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of BirdLife International

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