Movements of neotropical understory passerines affected by anthropogenic forest edges in the Brazilian Atlantic rainforest

Miriam M. Hansbauer*, Ilse Storch, Stephan Leu, Juan Pablo Nieto-Holguin, Rafael G. Pimentel, Felix Knauer, Jean Paul W Metzger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


Edge effects are suggested to have great impact on the persistence of species in fragmented landscapes. We tested edge avoidance by forest understory passerines in the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest and also compared their mobility and movement patterns in contiguous and fragmented landscapes to assess whether movements would increase in the fragmented landscape. Between 2003 and 2005, 96 Chiroxiphia caudata, 38 Pyriglena leucoptera and 27 Sclerurus scansor were radio-tracked. The most strictly forest species C. caudata and S. scansor avoided forest edges, while P. leucoptera showed affinities for the edge. Both sensitive species showed larger mean step length and maximal observed daily distance in the fragmented forest versus the unfragmented forest. P. leucoptera did not show any significant difference. There were no significant differences in proportional daily home range use for any of the three species. Our results suggested that fragmentation and the consequent increase in edge areas do influence movement behavior of sensitive forest understory birds that avoided the use of edges and increased the speed and distance they covered daily. For the most restricted forest species, it would be advisable to protect larger patches of forest instead of many small or medium fragments connected by narrow corridors. However, by comparing our data with that obtained earlier, we concluded that movement behavior of resident birds differs from that of dispersing birds and might not allow to infer functional connectivity or landscape-scale sensitivity to fragmentation; a fact that should be taken into consideration when suggesting conservation strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)782-791
Number of pages10
JournalBiological Conservation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Atlantic rainforest
  • Daily home ranges
  • Edge effects
  • Forest birds
  • Forest fragmentation


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