Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 1037–1052 | Cite as

Geographic patterns of species richness of diurnal raptors in Venezuela

  • Adrián Naveda-Rodríguez
  • Keith L. Bildstein
  • Félix Hernán Vargas
Original Paper


Knowledge of a species’ geographic distribution is crucial to assessing its vulnerability. It is also important to know if protected areas provide effective protection for raptor species. Here, we examine the species richness (S) patterns, factors predicting S and the effectiveness of protected areas (EPA) in the conservation of diurnal raptors in Venezuela. We modeled geographic distributions (SDM) of 64 raptor species using ecological niche models. Nine climatic and seven landscape metrics were used as environmental predictors. SDM were stacked to examine S and predictors of S were investigated using regression models. This study evaluated S patterns in the 13 bioregions defined for Venezuela. A gap analysis was performed to evaluate the EPA in the conservation of raptor diversity. Forty species showed a continuous distribution, whereas as disjunct distributions were observed in 24 species. Species richness differed among bioregions; six pairwise compared bioregions did not show differences. Guyana Massif and the mountains of northern Venezuela had the highest species richness. Landscape features, specifically canopy height, land cover and terrain slope explained most of the species richness. Environmental heterogeneity affected the distribution of S and is therefore important in conservation planning for Neotropical raptors. Responses from environmental variables used to predict S were scale dependent; it is necessary to standardize methods/experimental design to study the biogeography of raptors. Priority-setting for the conservation of raptors in Venezuela must consider restricted range species, even if they are not threatened. A new territorial ordering is urgent to improve the protection of this group of birds.


Neotropic Northern South America Landscape heterogeneity Cathartiformes Acciptriformes Falconiformes Strict protected areas Species richness 



This work was possible thanks to logistical and financial support provided by Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, The Peregrine Fund, Wild4Ever and the Rufford Small Grants Foundation (Grant No 14068-1). Authors wish to thank to Gabriela Lugo, Gary Riggs, Marcial Quiroga-Carmona, José Gustavo León, Gustavo Rodriguez, Tony Crease, Alan Highton, Christian Olaciregui, Jorge Peralta, Bayron Calles and Phillip Schwabl for helpful assistance. Thanks also to Francisco Bisbal, Alexis Araujo, Miguel Lentino, Jurahimar Gamboa, Marcos Salcedo, Carlos Rengifo and Rosana Calchi for providing information on voucher specimens in ornithological collections under their care. We appreciate the improvements in English usage made by Andrew Rothman.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10531_2016_1102_MOESM1_ESM.docx (32 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 31 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adrián Naveda-Rodríguez
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Keith L. Bildstein
    • 2
  • Félix Hernán Vargas
    • 1
  1. 1.The Peregrine FundBoiseUSA
  2. 2.Acopian Center for Conservation LearningHawk Mountain SanctuaryOrwigsburgUSA
  3. 3.Wildlife Conservation Society EcuadorQuitoEcuador

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