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Oecologia

, Volume 69, Issue 4, pp 618–625 | Cite as

Constant density and stable territoriality in some tropical insectivorous birds

  • Russell Greenberg
  • Judith Gradwohl
Original Papers

Summary

Four species of understory antbirds (Formicariidae: Myrmotherula fulviventris, M. axillaris, Microrhopias quixensis, and Thamnophilus punctatus) had stable populations over eight rainy seasons on Barro Colorado Island, Panama. The co-defended territories of M. fulviventris and Microrhopias quixensis, were essentially identical from year to year on our intensive study site, despite a moderate turnover of territory owners. The location of the territories of T. punctatus was also similar between years. This stability occurred in the face of considerable annual variation in the survivorship of adult M. fulviventris and T. punctatus. This variation was not significantly correlated with patterns of rainfall. Stable territoriality has rarely been reported from relatively-short-lived insectivorous birds. The annual production of young was significantly variable only in M. axillaris. Because BCI is an island comprised of one habitat (tropical forest) and so supports a closed population of antbirds, and because it is unlikely that natality equaled mortality on our study site during the entire eight years of the study, we suggest that these breeding populations are socially regulated at a constant level below the limits directly set by food supply.

Keywords

Rainy Season Food Supply Tropical Forest Constant Level Annual Variation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Russell Greenberg
    • 1
  • Judith Gradwohl
    • 2
  1. 1.National Zoological ParkSmithsonian InstitutionWashington, DCUSA
  2. 2.Smithsonian Tropical Research InstituteBalboaPanama

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