Bird data : France, Montpellier
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We studied the richness and composition of diurnal birds in relation to the percentage of built surfaces in an urban area of Mediterranean France and analyzed their seasonal variation. We recorded 61 species and identified three species groups: those characteristic of areas with the highest proportion of buildings, those associated with a mixture of buildings and gardens, and those typical from the green spaces embedded in the urban matrix. Although species richness was lowest in the downtown area, where building density was highest, in the suburbs there was no relation between building density and species richness and overall species richness did not differ from the values observed in the woodlands and croplands imbedded in the urban matrix. Overall spatial species distribution was narrower in spring and broader in winter, suggesting that many bird species have a broader use of the urban landscape in winter. We observed the highest species turnover between spring and winter in the croplands and woodlands found within the urban matrix. In winter, the amount of bird life increased in the suburbs and decreased in croplands and woodlands, which suggests that residential areas provide winter habitats for more species. Our results suggest that a complex urban landscape can host a diverse bird community, including species of conservation value.
Caula S, Marty P, Martin J-L. 2008. Seasonal variation in species composition of an urban bird community in Mediterranean France. Landscape Urban Plan 87, 1-9.