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9 September 2015 The changing diversity and distribution of dry forest passerine birds in northwestern Peru since the last ice age
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Abstract

The role of Quaternary glacial–interglacial intervals in shaping the diversity and distribution of Neotropical species has been the focus of considerable research. The Neotropics sustain the highest passerine diversity on Earth, but little is known about this region's historical biogeography based on fossils. To assess how passerine species were affected by Quaternary climate fluctuations, we identified 625 late Pleistocene fossils (individual fossilized bones) from the now arid and faunally depauperate Talara Tar Seeps in northwestern Peru. Of the 21 passerine species identified, only 2 likely live at the site now; the remaining 19 species require more mesic conditions. Species identified included members of the Thamnophilidae (antbirds), Melanopareiidae (crescentchests), Tyrannidae (flycatchers), Hirundinidae (swallows), Mimidae (mockingbirds), Thraupidae (seedeaters, “finches”), Emberizidae (sparrows), and Icteridae (blackbirds). Nearly half of the individual fossils and 8 of the 21 species were icterids, including 3 extinct species (1 previously described, 2 new). The late Pleistocene passerine community at Talara, which was nonanalog to any modern community, suggests that the site once supported savanna, grasslands, and forests during the last glacial interval, which are absent near Talara today. Quaternary climate change and the collapse of the community of large mammals had a major influence on the community composition and the geographic ranges of passerine species in northwestern Peru.

Jessica A. Oswald and David W. Steadman "The changing diversity and distribution of dry forest passerine birds in northwestern Peru since the last ice age," The Auk 132(4), 836-862, (9 September 2015). https://doi.org/10.1642/AUK-15-74.1
Received: 17 April 2015; Accepted: 1 June 2015; Published: 9 September 2015
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