We used original data (mist net captures) from San Salvador and Andros Island and literature sources for 19 islands in the Bahamas to conduct a biogeographic analysis of the permanent resident, terrestrial bird communities in the archipelago. The number of regularly occurring resident species on the 19 islands varied between 6 and 35 species. Island area accounted for 76% of the variation in richness, but multivariate analyses showed that vegetation and topography also affected richness: the richest communities were found on large islands that were dominated by pines and which had the highest topographic relief. Separate analyses of raptors, pigeons and doves, near-passerines, and passerines confirmed the primacy of island area as a determinant of richness among all groups except passerines. Among the latter species, area effects were secondary to vegetation type and elevation. The number of bird species on San Salvador conformed closely to the number predicted based on island area alone, but habitat use by the current avian community is at odds with the taller broadleaf forests that covered most of the island little more than 300 yr ago. We suspect that San Salvador has experienced numerous extinctions since that time.
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Vol. 75 • No. 1