Zoological Studies

Vol. 56, 2017

(update: 2017.8.1)

The Effects of Rainfall, Temperature, and Wind on a Community of Montane Birds in Shei-Pa National Park, Taiwan

Bruno A. Walther1,*, Jane Ren-Jen Chen2, Hui-Shan Lin2, and Yuan-Hsun Sun2

1Master Program in Global Health and Development, College of Public Health and Nutrition, Taipei Medical University, 250 Wu-Hsing St., Taipei 110, Taiwan
2Institute of Wildlife Conservation, College of Veterinary Medicine, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Neipu, Pingtung 91201, Taiwan

(Received 16 January 2017; Accepted 29 July 2017; Communicated by Chih-Ming Hung)

Jane Ren-Jen Chen, Hui-Shan Lin, Yuan-Hsun Sun, and Bruno A. Walther (2017) Montane birds are regularly exposed to extreme weather variations. Taiwan’s subtropical montane avifauna has many endemic species which are regularly exposed to large weather fluctuations. From 2010 to 2013, we conducted monthly censuses to study the influence of monthly weather variations on species richness and bird density of a montane bird community (> 3000 m a. s. l.) in Shei-Pa National Park. Censuses were conducted along a trail which traverses four distinct habitats with increasing altitude: bush forest ecotone, post-fire grassland, conifer forest, and rocky bushland. The highly variable weather corresponded with large fluctuations in the bird community. We found that lower temperatures had a negative effect on species richness and bird density, and this effect was strongest in the highest elevation habitat, the rocky bushland. Rainfall was positively correlated with bird density, but only explained 15% of the variation, while the effects of wind speed were inconsistent and small. This is the first study to demonstrate such weather effects in Taiwan and probably East Asia. We briefly discuss adaptations to harsh weather conditions in birds, which might be a profitable future research field for montane birds in Taiwan.

Key words: Weather, Bird density, Species richness, Monitoring, Taiwan.

*Correspondence: Tel: +886-2-2736-1661. Fax: +886-2-2736-1661. E-mail: bawalther2009@gmail.com