, Volume 178, Issue 3, pp 715–721 | Cite as

Changes in the apparent survival of a tropical bird in response to the El Niño Southern Oscillation in mature and young forest in Costa Rica

  • Jared D. WolfeEmail author
  • C. John Ralph
  • Pablo Elizondo
Population ecology - Original research


The effects of habitat alteration and climatic instability have resulted in the loss of bird populations throughout the globe. Tropical birds in particular may be sensitive to climate and habitat change because of their niche specialization, often sedentary nature, and unique life-cycle phenologies. Despite the potential influence of habitat and climatic interactions on tropical birds, we lack comparisons of avian demographics from variably aged forests subject to different climatic phenomena. Here, we measured relationships between forest type and climatic perturbations on White-collared Manakin (Manacus candei), a frugivorous tropical bird, by using 12 years of capture data in young and mature forests in northeastern Costa Rica. We used Cormack–Jolly–Seber models and an analysis of deviance to contrast the influence of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) on manakin survival. We found that ENSO had little effect on manakin survival in mature forests. Conversely, in young forests, ENSO explained 79 % of the variation where dry El Niño events negatively influenced manikin survival. We believe mature forest mitigated negative effects of dry El Niño periods and can serve as refugia for some species by buffering birds from climatic instability. Our results represent the first published documentation that ENSO influences the survival of a resident Neotropic landbird.


El Niño Southern Oscillation ENSO Frugivore SOI Tropical bird 



Our sincere thanks are extended to all the volunteer banders at the Costa Rica Bird Observatories, to Gary White, Paul Flint and Liana Zanette for an insightful review of the analysis and to the following colleagues who provided edits and comments which greatly improved the manuscript: John Alexander, Peter L. Ralph, Phil Stouffer, Sabrina Taylor, Kristin Brzeski, T. Brandt Ryder, Karl Mokross and Luke Powell. The research station of the Sea Turtle Conservancy (formerly known as Caribbean Conservation Corporation) at Tortuguero has provided wonderful support and facilities to our long-term monitoring effort. We are especially grateful to Roxana Silman and Dr. Emma Harrison at the Sea Turtle Conservancy for their continued support. J.D.W. and C.J.R. conceived and designed the project design. P.E. facilitated data collection and provided editorial advice.

Supplementary material

442_2015_3256_MOESM1_ESM.docx (2.8 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 2891 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (outside the USA) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jared D. Wolfe
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • C. John Ralph
    • 1
    • 2
  • Pablo Elizondo
    • 3
  1. 1.USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research StationArcataUSA
  2. 2.Klamath Bird ObservatoryAshlandUSA
  3. 3.Costa Rica Bird ObservatoriesInstituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio)Santo Domingo de HerediaCosta Rica

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