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Monday, 18 August 2014

Bird research this week on PubMed: August 2014 Week 3

PubMed listing for 'bird' OR 'songbird' excluding references to influenza and flu - August 2014 Week 3

1.Conserv Biol. 2014 Aug 13. doi: 10.1111/cobi.12373. [Epub ahead of print]

Cost-Effectiveness of Using Small Vertebrates as Indicators of Disturbance.

Peck MR1, Maddock ST, Morales JN, Oñate H, Mafla-Endara P, Peñafiel VA, Torres-Carvajal O, Pozo-Rivera WE, Cueva-Arroyo XA, Tolhurst BA
Author information:
1School of Life Sciences, JMS Building, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9QJ, United Kingdom.


In species-rich tropical forests, effective biodiversity management demands measures of progress, yet budgetary limitations typically constrain capacity of decision makers to assess response of biological communities to habitat change. One approach is to identify ecological-disturbance indicator species (EDIS) whose monitoring is also monetarily cost-effective. These species can be identified by determining individual species' responses to disturbance across a gradient; however, such responses may be confounded by factors other than disturbance. For example, in mountain environments the effects of anthropogenic habitat alteration are commonly confounded by elevation. EDIS have been identified with the indicator value (IndVal) metric, but there are weaknesses in the application of this approach in complex montane systems. We surveyed birds, small mammals, bats, and leaf-litter lizards in differentially disturbed cloud forest of the Ecuadorian Andes. We then incorporated elevation in generalized linear (mixed) models (GL(M)M) to screen for EDIS in the data set. Finally, we used rarefaction of species accumulation data to compare relative monetary costs of identifying and monitoring EDIS at equal sampling effort, based on species richness. Our GL(M)M generated greater numbers of EDIS but fewer characteristic species relative to IndVal. In absolute terms birds were the most cost-effective of the 4 taxa surveyed. We found one low-cost bird EDIS. In terms of the number of indicators generated as a proportion of species richness, EDIS of small mammals were the most cost-effective. Our approach has the potential to be a useful tool for facilitating more sustainable management of Andean forest systems.
© 2014 Society for Conservation Biolog.

PMID: 25124528 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

2.Anim Cogn. 2014 Aug 15. [Epub ahead of print]

'The thieving magpie'? No evidence for attraction to shiny objects.

Shephard TV1, Lea SE, Hempel de Ibarra N
Author information:
1Centre for Research in Animal Behaviour, University of Exeter, Perry Road, Exeter, EX4 4QG, UK,


It is widely accepted in European culture that magpies (Pica pica) are unconditionally attracted to shiny objects and routinely steal small trinkets such as jewellery, almost as a compulsion. Despite the long history of this folklore, published accounts of magpies collecting shiny objects are rare and empirical evidence for the behaviour is lacking. The latter is surprising considering that an attraction to bright objects is well documented in some bird species. The present study aims to clarify whether magpies show greater attraction to shiny objects than non-shiny objects when presented at the same time. We did not find evidence of an unconditional attraction to shiny objects in either captive or free-living birds. Instead, all objects elicited responses indicating neophobia in free-living birds. We suggest that humans notice when magpies occasionally pick up shiny objects because they believe the birds find them attractive, while it goes unnoticed when magpies interact with less eye-catching items. The folklore may therefore result from observation bias and cultural inflation of orally transmitted episodic events.

PMID: 25123853 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher

3.BMC Evol Biol. 2014 Aug 15;14(1):175. [Epub ahead of print]

Avoiding perceived past resource use of potential competitors affects niche dynamics in a bird community.

Forsman JT, Kivelä SM, Jaakkonen T, Seppänen JT, Gustafsson L, Doligez B.


BackgroundSocial information use is usually considered to lead to ecological convergence among involved con- or heterospecific individuals. However, recent results demonstrate that observers can also actively avoid behaving as those individuals being observed, leading to ecological divergence. This phenomenon has been little explored so far, yet it can have significant impact on resource use, realized niches and species co-existence. In particular, the time-scale and the ecological context over which such shifts can occur are unknown. We examined with a long-term (four years) field experiment whether experimentally manipulated, species-specific, nest-site feature preferences (symbols on nest boxes) are transmitted across breeding seasons and affect future nest-site preferences in a guild of three cavity-nesting birds.ResultsOf the examined species, resident great tits (Parus major) preferred the symbol that had been associated with unoccupied nest boxes in the previous year, i.e., their preference shifted towards niche space previously unused by putative competitors and conspecifics.ConclusionsOur results show that animals can remember the earlier resource use of conspecifics and other guild members and adjust own decisions accordingly one year after. Our experiment cannot reveal the ultimate mechanism(s) behind the observed behaviour but avoiding costs of intra- or interspecific competition or ectoparasite load in old nests are plausible reasons. Our findings imply that interspecific social information use can affect resource sharing and realized niches in ecological time-scale through active avoidance of observed decisions and behavior of potentially competing species.

PMID: 25123229 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

4.PLoS One. 2014 Aug 14;9(8):e105020. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0105020. eCollection 2014.

Exploring Heterozygosity-Survival Correlations in a Wild Songbird Population: Contrasting Effects between Juvenile and Adult Stages.

Canal D1, Serrano D2, Potti J1.
Author information:
1Doñana Biological Station - CSIC, Department of Evolutionary Ecology, Sevilla, Spain.
2Doñana Biological Station - CSIC, Department of Conservation Biology, Sevilla, Spain.


The relationship between genetic diversity and fitness, a major issue in evolutionary and conservation biology, is expected to be stronger in traits affected by many loci and those directly influencing fitness. Here we explore the influence of heterozygosity measured at 15 neutral markers on individual survival, one of the most important parameters determining individual fitness. We followed individual survival up to recruitment and during subsequent adult life of 863 fledgling pied flycatchers born in two consecutive breeding seasons. Mark-recapture analyses showed that individual heterozygosity did not influence juvenile or adult survival. In contrast, the genetic relatedness of parents was negatively associated with the offspring's survival during the adult life, but this effect was not apparent in the juvenile (from fledgling to recruitment) stage. Stochastic factors experienced during the first year of life in this long-distance migratory species may have swamped a relationship between heterozygosity and survival up to recruitment.

PMID: 25122217 [PubMed - in process]

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5.J Wildl Dis. 2014 Aug 14. [Epub ahead of print]

Relatively High Prevalence of Pox-Like Lesions in Henslow's Sparrow Among Nine Species of Migratory Grassland Passerines in Wisconsin, USA.

Ellison KS1, Hofmeister EK, Ribic CA, Sample DW.
Author information:
11  Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA.


Abstract Globally, Avipoxvirus species affect over 230 species of wild birds and can significantly impair survival. During banding of nine grassland songbird species (n = 346 individuals) in southwestern Wisconsin, USA, we noted species with a 2-6% prevalence of pox-like lesions (possible evidence of current infection) and 4-10% missing digits (potential evidence of past infection). These prevalences approach those recorded among island endemic birds (4-9% and 9-20% for the Galapagos and Hawaii, respectively) for which Avipoxvirus species have been implicated as contributing to dramatic population declines. Henslow's Sparrow Ammodramus henslowii (n = 165 individuals) had the highest prevalence of lesions (6.1%) and missing digits (9.7%). Among a subset of 26 Henslow's Sparrows from which blood samples were obtained, none had detectable antibody reactive to fowlpox virus antigen. However, four samples (18%) had antibody to canarypox virus antigen with test sample and negative control ratios (P/N values) ranging from 2.4 to 6.5 (median 4.3). Of four antibody-positive birds, two had lesions recorded (one was also missing a digit), one had digits missing, and one had no signs. Additionally, the birds with lesions or missing digits had higher P/N values than did the antibody-positive bird without missing digits or recorded lesions. This study represents an impetus for considering the impacts and dynamics of disease caused by Avipoxvirus among North American grassland bird species.

PMID: 25121409 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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6.An Acad Bras Cienc. 2014 Aug 12;0:0. [Epub ahead of print]

Richness, composition and trophic groups of an avian community in the Pernambuco Endemism Centre, Alagoas, Brazil.

Toledo-Lima GS1, Macario P1, Lyra-Neves RM2, Teixeira BP1, Lima LA3, Sugliano GO1, Telino-Júnior WR2.
Author information:
1Laboratório de Ornitologia e Taxidermia, Museu de História Natural, Universidade Federal de Alagoas, Maceió, AL, Brasil.
2Laboratório de Ensino de Zoologia, Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco, Garanhuns, PE, Brasil.
3Setor de Dermatologia, Universidade Estadual de Ciências da Saúde de Alagoas, Maceió, AL, Brasil.


In northeastern Brazil, the reduction of the natural forest cover to a series of small, isolated fragments has had negative consequences for the local avian fauna, in particular, a loss of the more specialized species, while the populations of some generalists have tended to increase. The present study focuses on the composition and trophic groups of a bird community on a farm in the northeastern Brazilian state of Alagoas. Monthly surveys were conducted between November 2008 and October 2009, based on mist-netting and systematic observations. Overall, 112 species were recorded, of which 76 were associated with the two forest fragments surveyed, while all the others were observed exclusively in the surrounding matrix of pasture and orchards. The bird community presented a predominance of insectivorous species, followed by omnivores. However, specialized trunk-creeping and understory insectivores accounted for only around 15% of the species in this feeding category. The reduced diversity of other guilds and species with more specialized diets, and the complete absence of sensitive species such as large parrots and raptors, reflects the severe fragmentation and degradation of the local forests, which has greatly reduced the availability of dietary resources and breeding sites.

PMID: 25119733 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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7.J Med Entomol. 2014 Jul;51(4):864-7.

First record of Ixodes arboricola (Ixodida: Ixodidae) from Turkey with presence of Candidatus Rickettsia vini (Rickettsiales: Rickettsiaceae).

Keskin A, Koprulu TK, Bursali A, Ozsemir AC, Yavuz KE, Tekin S.


Birds are the specific hosts of many tick species and may contribute to the dissemination of ticks and tick-borne pathogens throughout the world. Determination of ticks infesting birds and their pathogens are important for the detection of natural foci of human pathogens. Unfortunately, there is very limited information about the occurrence of ticks on birds and associated pathogens in Turkey. We performed a tick survey on three passerine bird species; Parus major, Sylvia atricapilla, and Turdus merula. Ticks collected from these birds were identified to species and tested for the presence of Borrelia, Ehrlichia, and Rickettsia species. Ixodes arboricola Schulze & Schlottke, Ixodes frontalis Panzer, and Ixodes ricinus L. were found on the birds. This is the first study reporting the presence of I. frontalis and I. arboricola on S. atricapilla and P. major, respectively, in Turkey. In addition, the results of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with primers specific for gltA and ompA genes and DNA sequence analysis of positive PCR products indicated the presence of Candidatus Rickettsia vini in I. arboricola ticks. In conclusion, this is the first record of both I. arboricola and Candidatus Rickettsia vini in Turkey. Therefore, future studies needed to be conducted on the ticks infesting birds and their pathogens to elucidate the role of birds in the dispersal of tick species and tick-borne pathogens in Turkey.

PMID: 25118420 [PubMed - in process]

8.Conserv Biol. 2014 Aug 12. doi: 10.1111/cobi.12362. [Epub ahead of print]

Defining and Evaluating the Umbrella Species Concept for Conserving and Restoring Landscape Connectivity.

Breckheimer I1, Haddad NM, Morris WF, Trainor AM, Fields WR, Jobe RT, Hudgens BR, Moody A, Walters JR.
Author information:
1Department of Biology, University of Washington, Box 351800, Seattle, WA 98195, U.S.A.


Conserving or restoring landscape connectivity between patches of breeding habitat is a common strategy to protect threatened species from habitat fragmentation. By managing connectivity for some species, usually charismatic vertebrates, it is often assumed that these species will serve as conservation umbrellas for other species. We tested this assumption by developing a quantitative method to measure overlap in dispersal habitat of 3 threatened species-a bird (the umbrella), a butterfly, and a frog-inhabiting the same fragmented landscape. Dispersal habitat was determined with Circuitscape, which was parameterized with movement data collected for each species. Despite differences in natural history and breeding habitat, we found substantial overlap in the spatial distributions of areas important for dispersal of this suite of taxa. However, the intuitive umbrella species (the bird) did not have the highest overlap with other species in terms of the areas that supported connectivity. Nevertheless, we contend that when there are no irreconcilable differences between the dispersal habitats of species that cohabitate on the landscape, managing for umbrella species can help conserve or restore connectivity simultaneously for multiple threatened species with different habitat requirements. Definición y Evaluación del Concepto de Especie Paraguas para Conservar y Restaurar la Conectividad de Paisajes.
© 2014 Society for Conservation Biology.

PMID: 25115148 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

9.J Avian Med Surg. 2014 Jun;28(2):132-42.

Central vestibular disease in a blue and gold macaw (Ara ararauna) with cerebral infarction and hemorrhage.

Grosset C, Guzman DS, Keating MK, Gaffney PM, Lowenstine L, Zwingenberger A, Young AC, Vernau KM, Sokoloff AM, Hawkins MG.


A 24-year-old female blue and gold macaw (Ara ararauna) was presented for an acute onset of left head tilt. On examination, the macaw was dehydrated and had a 120-degree left head tilt, decreased proprioception of the left pelvic limb, and intermittent vertical nystagmus. Results of hematologic testing and biochemical analysis revealed severe leukocytosis with lymphopenia and heterophilia and a high uric acid concentration. Radiographs showed bilateral intertarsal joint osteoarthritis and a healed ulnar fracture. Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain revealed focal T2 and fluid-attenuated inversion recovery hyperintense lesions in the right cerebral hemisphere and in the midbrain. The midbrain lesion showed susceptibility artifact on the T2* sequence, suggesting hemorrhage. In the T2* sequence, iron accumulation (as seen with hemorrhage) distorts the magnetic signal, resulting in the production of a susceptibility artifact, which can then be visualized as a region of hypointensity. The bird was hospitalized but died despite intensive care. Necropsy revealed multiple cerebral vascular lesions including an acute cerebral infarct, a ruptured midbrain aneurysm, and multifocal systemic atherosclerosis. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a cerebral aneurysm in a bird. This report correlates the clinical presentation, imaging, and histopathologic findings in a macaw with central vestibular disease and demonstrates how advanced imaging techniques can identify hemorrhagic lesions through the T2* sequence.

PMID: 25115042 [PubMed - in process]

10.J Avian Med Surg. 2014 Jun;28(2):127-31.

American kestrel (Falco spaverius) fledgling with severe bilateral periorbital swelling and infection with mycoplasma buteonis, Aavibacterium (pasteurella) gallinarum, and Staphylococcus pasteuri.

Bezjian M, Bezjian M


Abstract: A female American kestrel (Falco spaverius) fledgling was found on the ground with a suspected trauma to the right eye and open-mouth breathing. During the first 2 days of hospitalization, the bird developed severe bilateral periorbital cellulitis, blepharoedema, and sinusitis. The periocular tissues of the right globe were devitalized and communicated with a fistula at the commissure of the right side of the beak. The blepharoedema of the left eye was aspirated and yielded a dark colored malodorous fluid, which was submitted for aerobic bacterial and Mycoplasma cultures. Results showed a mixed infection with Mycoplasma buteonis, Avibacterium gallinarum, and Staphylococcus pasteuri, all of which are not commonly isolated from birds of prey. With antimicrobial therapy, supportive care, and surgical debridement of the right periocular necrotic tissues and adhesed phthisical globe, the kestrel recovered from this severe mixed upper respiratory infection.

PMID: 25115041 [PubMed - in process]

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