, Volume 12, Issue 12, pp 2487-2501

Priorities for the conservation of avian biodiversity in China based on the distribution patterns of endemic bird genera

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Abstract

Ten endemic Chinese bird genera are currently recognized: Nipponia, Tetraophasis, Chrysolophus, Crossoptilon, Ithaginis, Pseudopodoces, Rhopophilus, Kozlowia, Urocynchramus and Latoucheornis. Of these genera, Nipponia, Ithaginis, Pseudopodoces, Rhopophilus, Kozlowia, Urocynchramus and Latoucheornis are monotypic, while Tetraophasis, Chrysolophus and Crossoptilon are polytypic. In this paper, we first set up a database of the geographic distribution and suitable habitat requirements for each species of these endemic genera. Secondly we produced a modified habitat-based prediction of their distribution using GIS (ArcView 3.1) software overlap analysis. We then explored the spatial–temporal distribution patterns of different genera. By comparing the richness of the endemic genera in distributed areas, we identified centers of endemic avian biodiversity. These are: the northern and eastern Hengduanshan Mountains, and the Qinling, Dabashan and Minshan Mountain regions. Finally, we identified conservation ‘hotspots’ with a higher priority based on these centers. These results may provide a valuable tool for identifying and conserving areas with high endemic biodiversity and methods for researching the biogeography of endemic genera, the evolutionary history of fauna and species differentiation.