Caatinga pp 181-210 | Cite as

The Avifauna of the Caatinga: Biogeography, Ecology, and Conservation

  • Helder Farias Pereira de Araujo
  • José Maria Cardoso da Silva


The Caatinga harbors 548 species 24of birds, of which 67 species or subspecies originated within the region. The regional avifauna has been assembled over time as a consequence of speciation in situ and biotic exchanges with the adjacent regions. The role played by regional mass extinction remains unknown. Local assemblages range from 90 to 259 species. The richest local assemblages are found in heterogeneous and well-protected landscapes. Both regional and local assemblages exhibit strong seasonality associated with rainfall as bird species are always tracking humid and thus more productive spots. As a consequence, they move within landscapes, between landscapes, and between regions. Although several species are able to cope with the disturbance of their habitats by humans, we predict that no more than 162 species will be able to survive in a degraded Caatinga under a more unpredictable climate regime.


Birds Evolution Biogeography Ecology Conservation Migration 



José Silva received support from the University of Miami and the Swift Action Fund.


  1. Ab’Saber AN (1977) Os domínios morfoclimáticos na América do Sul. Primeira Aproximação Geomorfologia 52:1–21Google Scholar
  2. Alves RN, Lima JF, Araujo H (2013) The live bird trade in Brazil and its conservation implications: an overview. Bird Conserv Int 23:53–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Araujo HFP (2009) Amostragem, estimativa de riqueza de espécies e variação temporal na diversidade, dieta e reprodução de aves em área de caatinga, Brasil. Ph.D. thesis, Universidade Federal da Paraíba, João PessoaGoogle Scholar
  4. Araujo HFP, Rodrigues RC (2011) Birds from open environments in the caatinga from state of Alagoas, northeastern Brazil. Fortschr Zool 28:629–640Google Scholar
  5. Araujo HFP, Vieira-Filho A, Cavalcanti TA, Barbosa MRV (2012) As aves e os ambientes em que elas ocorrem em uma reserva particular no Cariri Paraibano, nordeste do Brasil. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia 20:365–377Google Scholar
  6. Araujo HFP, Vieira-Filho A, Barbosa MRV, Diniz-Filho JA, Silva JMC (2017) Passerine phenology in the largest tropical dry forest of South America: effects of climate and resource availability. Emu 117:78–91Google Scholar
  7. Azevedo-Júnior SM, Antas PTZ (1990) Observações sobre a reprodução de Zenaida auriculata no Nordeste do Brasil. In: IV Encontro Nacional de Anilhadores de Aves. Anais, Recife, pp 65–72Google Scholar
  8. Barnett J, Gomes CL, Araujo HFP, Roos AL, Machado CG, Uejima A, Naka LN (2014) The Avifauna of Curaçá (Bahia), the last stronghold of Spix’s Macaw. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia 22:121–137Google Scholar
  9. Belmaker J (2009) Species richness of resident and transient coral-dwelling fish responds differentially to regional diversity. Glob Ecol Biogeogr 18:426–436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bezerra DMMSQ (2015) Uso de habitat e densidade de aves ameaçadas de extinção e sob pressão cinegética em uma área de caatinga prioritária para conservação. Ph.D. thesis, Universidade Federal da Paraíba, João PessoaGoogle Scholar
  11. Boss RL, Silva JMC (2014) Core and transient species in an Amazonian savanna bird assemblage. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia 22:372–380Google Scholar
  12. Castro TV (2016) Caça e dieta do jacu do nordeste (Penelope jacucaca) na Caatinga do Ceará e Paraíba, Brasil. MSc dissertation, Universidade de Brasília, BrasíliaGoogle Scholar
  13. Castro MC, Montefeltro FC, Langer MC (2014) The quaternary vertebrate fauna of the limestone cave Gruta do Ioiô, northeastern Brazil. Quat Int 352:164–175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cavalcanti LMP (2016) Oscilação intra e interanual na reprodução de uma comunidade de aves na Caatinga, um semiárido neotropical. MSc dissertation, Universidade Federal Rural do Semi-Árido, MossoróGoogle Scholar
  15. Cavalcanti LMP, Paiva LV, França LF (2016) Effects of rainfall on bird reproduction in a semi-arid Neotropical region. Fortschr Zool 33:1–6Google Scholar
  16. Cole MM (1986) The savannas: biogeography and geobotany. Academic, OrlandoGoogle Scholar
  17. Coyle JR, Hurlbert AH, White EP (2013) Opposing mechanisms drive richness patterns of core and transient bird species. Am Nat 181:83–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Cracraft J (1985) Historical biogeography and patterns within the South American avifauna: areas of endemism. Ornithol Monogr 36:49–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Dirzo R, Mooney H, Ceballos G, Young H (2011) Seasonally dry tropical forests: ecology and conservation. Island Press, Washington, DCCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dornelas AAF, Paula DC, Santo MME, Sánchez-Azofeifa GA, Leite LO (2012) Avifauna do Parque Estadual da Mata Seca, norte de Minas Gerais. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia 20:378–391Google Scholar
  21. Farias GB, Girão WA, Albano CG (2005) Diversidade de aves em áreas prioritárias para conservação de aves da Caatinga. In: Araujo FS, Rodal MJN, Barbosa MRV (eds) Análise das variações da biodiversidade do bioma caatinga: suporte a estratégias regionais de conservação. Ministério do Meio Ambiente, Brasília, pp 204–226Google Scholar
  22. Farias GB (2007) Avifauna em quatro áreas de caatinga sensu stricto no centro-oeste de Pernambuco, Brasil. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia 15:53–60Google Scholar
  23. França LF, Silva CM, Paiva LV (2016) Effects of intrinsic and time-specific factors on daily nest survival of birds in a semiarid area of South America (Caatinga). Rev Bras Ornithol 24:228–234Google Scholar
  24. Girão W, Souto A (2005) Breeding period of Araripe Manakin Antilophia bokermanni inferred from vocalization activity. Cotinga 24:35–37Google Scholar
  25. Gomes VGN, Quirino ZGMB, Araujo HFP (2014) Frugivory and seed dispersal by birds in Cereus jamacaru DC. ssp. jamacaru (Cactaceae) in the Caatinga of Northeastern Brazil. Braz J Biol 74:32–40CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Gonzaga LP, Carvalhaes AMP, Buzzetti DRC (2007) A new species of Formicivora antwren from the Chapada Diamantina, eastern Brazil (Aves: Passeriformes: Thamnophilidae). Zootaxa 1473:25–44Google Scholar
  27. Haffer J (1985) Avian zoogeography of the neotropical lowland. Ornithol Monogr 36:113–146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. IBGE (1993) Mapa de vegetação do Brasil. IBGE, Rio de JaneiroGoogle Scholar
  29. Karr JR, Roth RR (1971) Vegetation structure and avian diversity in several new world areas. Am Nat 105:423–435CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Las-Casas FMG (2009) Guildas de beija-flores (Aves: Trochilidae) em uma área de Caatinga, no Estado de Pernambuco. MSc dissertation, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, RecifeGoogle Scholar
  31. Las-Casas FMG, Azevedo Júnior SM, Dias Filho MM, Bianchi C (2012) Community structure and bird species composition in a caatinga of Pernambuco, Brazil. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia 20:302–311Google Scholar
  32. Lees AC (2016) Evidence for longitudinal migration by a “sedentary” Brazilian flycatcher, the Ash-throated Casiornis. J Field Ornithol 87:251–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lima-Ribeiro MS, Diniz-Filho JAF (2013) Modelos ecológicos e a extinção da megafauna: clima e homem na América do Sul. Cubo, São CarlosGoogle Scholar
  34. Linares-Palomino R, Oliveira-Filho AT, Pennington RT (2011) Neotropical seasonally dry forests: diversity, endemism and biogeography of woody plants. In: Dirzo R, Mooney H, Ceballos G, Young H (eds) Seasonally dry tropical forests: ecology and conservation. Island Press, Washington, DC, pp 3–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lopes LE, Vasconcelos MF, Gonzaga LAP (2017) A cryptic new species of hummingbird of the Campylopterus largipennis complex (Aves: Trochilidae). Zootaxa 4268:1–33PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Luna LW, Souza TO, Carneiro LS, Silva WAG, Schneider H, Sampaio I, Araripe J, Rêgo OS (2017) Molecular data and distribution dynamics indicate a recent and incomplete separation of manakins species of the genus Antilophia (Aves: Pipridae) in response to Holocene climate change. J Avian Biol.
  37. MacArthur RH, MacArthur JW (1961) On bird species diversity. Ecology 42:592–598CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Machado CG (2009) Beija-flores (Aves: Trochilidae) e seus recursos florais em uma área de caatinga da Chapada Diamantina, Bahia, Brasil. Fortschr Zool 26:255–265Google Scholar
  39. Mallet-Rodrigues F (2005) Molt-breeding cycle in passerines from a foothill forest in southeastern Brazil. Braz J Ornithol 13:155–160Google Scholar
  40. Marini MA, Durães R (2001) Annual patterns of molt and reproductive activity of passerines in south-central Brazil. Condor 103:767–775CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Mayr E (1963) Animal species and evolution. Harvard University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Muller P (1973) Dispersal centers of terrestrial vertebrates in the Neotropical. Biogeographica 2:1–244Google Scholar
  43. Nascimento JIX, Nascimento IS, Azevedo-Júnior SM (2000) Aves da Chapada do Araripe (Brasil): Biologia e conservação. Ararajuba 8:115–125Google Scholar
  44. Oliveira G, Diniz-Filho JAF (2010) Spatial patterns of terrestrial vertebrates richness in Brazilian semiarid, Northeastern Brazil: selecting hypotheses and revealing constraints. J Arid Environ 74:1418–1426CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Olmos F, Albano CG (2012) As aves da região do Parque Nacional da Serra da Capivara (Piauí, Brasil). Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia 20:350–364Google Scholar
  46. Olmos F, Silva WAG, Albano C (2005) Diversidade de aves em oito áreas de Caatinga no sul do Ceará e oeste de Pernambuco, Nordeste do Brasil: composição, riqueza e similaridade. Papéis Avulsos emZoologia 45:179–199Google Scholar
  47. Pereira GA, Azevedo Júnior SM (2011) Estudo comparativo entre as comunidades de aves de dois fragmentos florestais de caatinga em Pernambuco, Brasil. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia 19:22–31Google Scholar
  48. Pereira GA, Azevedo Júnior SM (2013) Variação sazonal de aves em uma área de caatinga no Nordeste do Brasil. Ornithol Neotrop 24:387–399Google Scholar
  49. Piacentini VQ, Aleixo A, Agne CE, Maurício GN, Pacheco JF, Bravo GA, Brito GRR, Naka LN, Olmos F, Posso SA, Silveira LF, Betini GS, Carrano E, Franz I, Lees AC, Lima LM, Pioli D, Schunck F, Amaral FR, Bencke GA, Cohn-Haft M, Figueiredo LFA, Straube FC, Cesari E (2015) Annotated checklist of the birds of Brazil by the Brazilian Ornithological Records Committee. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia 23:90–298Google Scholar
  50. Pichorim M, Oliveira DV, Oliveira Junior TM, Camara TPF, Nascimento EPG (2016) Pristine semi-arid areas in northeastern Brazil remain mainly on slopes of mountain ranges: a case study based on bird community of Serra de Santana. Trop Zool 29:1–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Piratelli AJ, Siqueira MAC, Marcondes-Machado LO (2000) Reprodução e muda de penas em aves de sub-bosque na região leste de Mato Grosso do Sul. Ararajuba 8:99–107Google Scholar
  52. Poulin B, Lefebvre G, McNeil R (1992) Tropical avian phenology in relation to abundance and exploitation of food resources. Ecology 73:2295–2309CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Prado DE (2003) As Caatingas da América do Sul. In: Leal IR, Tabarelli M, Silva JMC (eds) Ecologia e conservação da caatinga. Editora Universitária, Recife, pp 3–73Google Scholar
  54. Remsen JV, Hunt ES (1979) First records of Sporophila caerulescens from Colombia: a probable long distance migrant from southern South America. Bull Br Ornithol Club 99:24–26Google Scholar
  55. Ricklefs RE, Schluter D (1993) Species diversity: regional and historical influences. In: Ricklefs RE, Schluter D (eds) Species diversity in ecological communities: historical and geographical perspectives. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 350–363Google Scholar
  56. Roos AL, Souza EA, Campos CB, Paula RC, Morato RG (2012) Primeiro registro documentado do Jacu-estalo Neomorphus geoffroyi Temminck, 1820 para o bioma Caatinga. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia 20:81–85Google Scholar
  57. Rosen BR (1988) From fossils to earth history: applied historical biogeography. In: Myers AA, Giller PS (eds) Analytical biogeography. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 437–481CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Ruiz-Esparza JM, Rocha PA, Ruiz-Esparza DPB, Ribeiro AS, Ferrari AS (2011) Migratory birds in the semi-arid Caatinga scrub-lands of northeastern Brazil: diversity and seasonal patterns. Ornitologia Neotrop 22:15–24Google Scholar
  59. Sá IB, Angelotti F (2009) Degradação ambiental e desertificação no semi-árido brasileiro. In: Angelotti F, Sá IB, Menezes EA, Pellegrino GQ (eds) Mudanças climáticas e desertificação no semi-árido brasileiro. Embrapa Semiárdo, Petrolina, pp 59–88Google Scholar
  60. Schunck F, Piacentini VQ, Souza EA, Sousa AEBA, Rego MA, Albano C, Nunes MFC, Favaro FL, Simao Neto I, Mariano EF, Lima DM, Las-Casas FMG, Rodrigues RC, Fonseca Neto FP (2012) Birds of the lower middle São Francisco River. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia 20:350–364Google Scholar
  61. Silva JMC (1995) Seasonal distribution of the lined seedeater Sporophila lineola. Bull Br Ornithol Club 115:14–21Google Scholar
  62. Silva JMC (1996) Distribution of Amazonian and Atlantic birds in gallery forests of the Cerrado region, South America. Ornitologia Neotrop 7:1–18Google Scholar
  63. Silva JMC, Garda AA (2010) Padrões e processos biogeográficos na Amazônia. In: Carvalho CJB, Carvalho EAB (eds) Biogeografia da América do Sul: Padrões & processos. Editora Roca, São Paulo, pp 189–197Google Scholar
  64. Silva JMC, Santos MPD (2005) A importância relativa dos processos biogeográficos na formação da avifauna do Cerrado e de outros biomas brasileiros. In: Scariot A, Sousa Filho JC, Felfili JM (eds) Cerrado: ecologia, biodiversidade e conservação. Ministério do Meio Ambiente, Brasília, pp 224–233Google Scholar
  65. Silva JMC, Souza MA, Bieber AGD, Carlos CJ (2003) Aves da Caatinga: status, uso do habitat e sensitividade. In: Leal IR, Tabarelli M, Silva JMC (eds) Ecologia e conservação da caatinga. Editora Universitária, Recife, pp 237–273Google Scholar
  66. Silveira LF, Santos MPD (2012) Bird richness in Serra das Confusões National Park, Brazil: how many species may be found in an undisturbed caatinga? Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia 20:188–198Google Scholar
  67. Stouffer PC, Johnson EI, Bierregaard RO Jr (2013) Breeding seasonality in Central Amazonian rainforest birds. Auk 130:529–540CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Tavares ES, Baker AJ, Pereira SL, Miyaki CY (2006) Phylogenetic relationships and historical biogeography of Neotropical parrots (Psittaciformes: Psittacidae: Arini) inferred from mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences. Syst Biol 55:454–470CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  69. Telino-Júnior WR, Lyra-Neves RM, Nascimento JLX (2005) Biologia e composição da avifauna em uma Reserva Particular de Patrimônio Natural da caatinga paraibana. Ornithologia 1:49–57Google Scholar
  70. Vasconcelos MF, Souza LN, Duca C, Pacheco JF, Parrini R, Serpa GA, Albano C, Abreu CRM, Santos SS, Fonseca Neto FP (2012) The avifauna of Brejinho das Ametistas, Bahia, Brazil: birds in a caatinga-cerrado transitional zone, with comments on taxonomy and biogeography. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia 20:246–267Google Scholar
  71. Vilas-Bôas MM (2013) Dinâmica Reprodutiva de Aves da Caatinga em uma área próxima ao Rio São Francisco. MSc dissertation, Universidade de Federal Sergipe, AracajúGoogle Scholar
  72. Vivo M, Carmignotto AP (2004) Holocene vegetation change and the mammal faunas of South America and Africa. J Biogeogr 31:943–957CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Wingfield JC (2008) Organization of vertebrate annual cycles: implications for control mechanisms. Philos Trans R Soc B Biol Sci 363:425–441CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helder Farias Pereira de Araujo
    • 1
  • José Maria Cardoso da Silva
    • 2
  1. 1.Departamento de Ciências BiológicasUniversidade Federal da Paraíba-UFPBAreiaBrazil
  2. 2.Department of GeographyUniversity of MiamiCoral GablesUSA

Personalised recommendations