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Houston, TX, United States

Siles L.,Texas Tech University | Brooks D.M.,Houston Museum of Natural Science | Aranibar H.,Armonia BirdLife | Tarifa T.,Institute Ecologia Coleccion Boliviana Of Fauna | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Mammalogy

Although significant work has been done to define species relationships within the Neotropical genus Micronycteris, the group has yet to be fully resolved. In Bolivia Micronycteris is represented by 4 species: M. hirsuta, M. megalotis, M. minuta, and M. sanborni. Through examination of morphological characters and analyses of cranial measurements and genetic data, we determine that M. sanborni is not found in Bolivia and describe a new species closely related to it. The new species is morphometrically distinct from its congeners, forming a cluster separate from M. schmidtorum, M. minuta, and M. brosseti along principal component (PC) 1 (explaining 57.3% of the variation and correlated with maxillary toothrow length) and also separate from M. sanborni along PC 2 (explaining 35.4% of the variation and correlated with condylobasal length). The new species forms a statistically supported clade in all phylogenetic analyses; however, a sister relationship to M. sanborni is not supported. Genetic distance values that separate Micronycteris sp. nov. from its closest relatives range from 5.3% (versus M. sanborni) to 10.4% (versus M. minuta from Guyana). We diagnose and describe the new species in detail and name it in honor of the late Terry Lamon Yates for his contributions to Bolivian mammalogy. Micronycteris sp. nov. is Bolivia's 1st endemic bat species and because of its importance, the conservation implications are discussed. © 2013 American Society of Mammalogists. Source

Corvacho M.G.,Asociacion Armonia Bird Life Bolivia | MacLeod R.,University of Glasgow | Brooks D.M.,Houston Museum of Natural Science | Hennessey B.,Asociacion Armonia Bird Life Bolivia
Ornitologia Neotropical

We report the first field observations of vocalizations, behavior and ecology of Pauxi unicornis koepckeae, and compare museum specimens and field data to the nominate Bolivian form R u. unicornis. On the basis of the differences between these allopatric populations we suggest that these two distinct forms are separate species. Casque length is shorter, and diameter and shape smaller in P. koepckeae, and the tail lacks white markings on the tip of the central rectrices in P. koepckeae. Details of the vocal signature and alarm call are described for the first time for P. koepckeae. These contrast with P. unicornis in that P. koepckeae has much shorter song duration and fewer phrases, fewer notes, lacks the distinctive final loud note characterizing P. unicornis, and the alarm call is accompanied by horizontal tail fanning (versus vertical tail pumping in P. unicornis). The peak singing period, and therefore probably the breeding seasons, of the two taxa differ in timing by several months, with P. koepckeae song activity peaking towards the end of the wet season and P. unicornis peaking at the start of the wet season. The isolated P. koepckeae population is endemic to Peru's Sira Mountains and is separated by more than 1000 km from the Bolivian form. The two taxa are found in different habitats, with P. koepckeae resident in cloud forest at 1100-1435 m a.s.l., and P. unicornis resident in humid and lower montane forest at 400-1100 m a.s.l. Additional detailed findings on P. koepckeae ecology are presented, including abundance with average estimates of < 1 individual/km2, and a peak of 8.3 vocalizing males/km2 in a potential exploded lek situation. Conservation status of P. koepckeae is quite likely Critically Endangered in light of the very small geographic distribution (< 30 km2 currently accounted for). The main threat to P. koepckeae is local hunting. © The Neotropical Ornithological Society. Source

Setina V.,University of Pamplona | Lizcano D.J.,University of Pamplona | Brooks D.M.,Houston Museum of Natural Science | Silveira L.F.,University of Sao Paulo
Wilson Journal of Ornithology

We estimated the population density of the Helmeted Curassow (Pauxi pauxi) in Tam National Park (TNP) Colombia, using visual counts between December 2006 and December 2008. We used six line transects (1 km each) equitably distributed in a natural forest between 800 and 1,200 m asl in the southern part of the park. The sampling effort was 588 hrs with a total distance of 490 km, a detection rate of 0.06 records/hr, and an encounter rate of 0.08 individuals/km. Only solitary individuals were recorded (n = 40); the estimated density was 4.8 individuals/km2. Most detections occurred in the lower strata of the forest (floor and sub-canopy) where hunters take advantage of curassows in the lower strata for successful harvest. The southern sector of TNP becomes important in the dry season. Our study suggests a large population is in TNP, but harvesting activities including removal of eggs, chicks, and juveniles, and hunting adults are affecting the reproductive rate and population of the species. © 2012 by the Wilson Ornithological Society. Source

Brooks D.M.,Houston Museum of Natural Science
Wilson Journal of Ornithology

Results of queries through public avian list-servers and a thorough literature search formed a data base to synthesize patterns of birds trapped in spider webs. Sixty-nine cases of birds, representing 54 species in 23 families, were reported trapped in webs. Hummingbirds were the most diverse family (9 species) and had the most cases of entrapment (n = 20). Archilochus colubris represented the species with the most cases of entrapment (n = 6). Mean mass and wing chord length of all species trapped were 11 g and 61 mm, respectively. Eighty-seven percent of all individuals had mass ≤15 g and 88 had a wing chord <90 mm. Phaethornis longuemareus and Mellisuga minima represented the smallest species (mass = 2 g, wing chord = 37 mm), and Streptopelia senegalensis was the largest (mass = 80 g, wing chord = 138 mm). Thirty cases of birds were entrapped without human intervention: 22 died and eight not wrapped in silk freed themselves. Those wrapped in silk invariably died unless freed by a human observer. One-half of all reported spider webs were of the genus Nephila, and all were orb weavers except for a single Latrodectus. Nephila clavipes entrapped nine species representing 14 cases, ranging from Mellisuga minima (mass = 2 g, wing chord = 37 mm) to Catharus ustulatus (mass = 23 g, wing chord = 93 mm). Patterns, causes, and consequences of birds entrapped in spider webs are discussed, including orb weavers as opportunistic predators of birds trapped in webs, and spider webs as a natural environmental hazard to birds. © 2012 by the Wilson Ornithological Society. Source

Brooks D.M.,Houston Museum of Natural Science
Wilson Journal of Ornithology

Two captive pairs of Little Tinamou (Crypturellus soui) were studied to describe reproduction, development, and associated behaviors of this extremely cryptic forest dwelling species. Pairs were strongly territorial. Precopulatory courtship behaviors were performed by the female. Male tinamous showed strong nest attendance during incubation and sat without leaving the nest from day 14 until the eggs hatched. Nest abandonment and false abandonment occurred due to environmental stress, flushing by humans, eggs being laid in a poor location, and if clutch size was too large. Renewed reproductive efforts began shortly following loss of a previous clutch, with calling activity and inter-clutch duration being a minimum of 3 and 5 days, respectively. © 2015 The Wilson Ornithological Society. Source

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