, Volume 55, Issue 2, pp 208–216

Secondary succession and breeding bird community structure: Patterns of resource utilization

  • P. G. May
Original Papers

DOI: 10.1007/BF00384489

Cite this article as:
May, P.G. Oecologia (1982) 55: 208. doi:10.1007/BF00384489


Structure of breeding bird communities was compared among four habitat types representative of stages present in most old-field successions in the eastern deciduous forest formation of North America. The successional catagories, defined by vegetational structure, were designated herbaceous (type A habitats) herb, shrub and sapling (type B), young forest (type C), and older forest (type D). Density of breeding birds was lowest in A habitats, rose sharply in B habitats and reached a maximum in D habitats. Species richness and number of feeding guild showed similar patterns. Mean number of species per guilds was highest in D habitats. Generalist feeding guilds were predominant in type A and B habitats, primarily due to the importance of the graminivore-insectivore guild. Specialist guilds increased in importance with succession due to addition of several insectivorous guilds in later successional stages. Patterns of occurrence of individual feeding guilds are analyzed and discussed with respect to changes in vegetational structure. Variance in community structure was generally highest in A habitats and lowest in D habitats; this is discussed in relation to the evolution of “saturated”, coadapted communities.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. G. May
    • 1
  1. 1.George Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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