The bird assemblage of a southern temperate rainforest on Chiloé Island, southern Chile, was studied during the breeding season of 1993–1994. The modified variable-circular plot method was used to examine the effects on the estimated overall density and species richness of birds when the size of the plot, duration at the plot, and number of plots were varied, one variable at a time. A total of 459 individuals of 24 species was recorded on 18 plots sampled for a maximum of 10 min with unlimited distance. When increasing either the plot size, sampling length, or number of plots, the number of species detected increased at a decreasing rate, but without reaching an asymptote. The estimated density decreased with increasing plot size, increased with sampling length, and did not change with increasing plot number. However, the precision substantially improved. Plots of 40-m radius counted for 10 min detected 78% of the species found in larger plots and rendered an overall bird density of 34 individuals/ha, almost twice as many as the only comparable study found. On average, more than 75% of all species detected were within 40 m of the observers, using a 4-min sampling period at five plots. The migrant omnivorous flycatcher Elaenia albiceps was the most abundant species (22% of total counts), followed by the hummingbird Sephanoides galeritus, the tapaculo Scelorchilus rubecola, the treecreeper Aphrastura spinicauda, and the parakeet Enicognathus ferrugineus. These species, which were the most common in other studies conducted in similar temperate South American forests, showed species-specific responses to changes in the sampling variables.
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Vol. 71 • No. 1