Understanding the patterns and drivers of bird species composition and diversity outside Protected Area networks is essential to develop landscape-level conservation strategies. The Western Ghats' coffee plantations of India form an important agro-ecosystem and help maintain a significant portion of regional avian diversity. However, knowledge of the composition and functional diversity of birds in differently managed coffee plantation is lacking from the Western Ghats. In this study, we compared the composition and functional diversity of resident birds between shade and open coffees plantations. We counted 3,846 birds of 87 species, and found species richness to be higher in shade (78 species) than in open coffee plantations (55 species). Interestingly, 32 species were unique to shade and nine were unique to open coffee plantations, with 46 species found in both types of plantation. Overall species composition and functional diversity were different in differently managed plantations. Species richness and abundance (birds/point/visit) were higher in shade coffee, reflecting the availability of multiple strata and habitat heterogeneity. Results revealed that different farm management practices can affect functional bird richness and its abundance in coffee plantations. Therefore, retaining shade-trees of native varieties in coffee plantations is important for supporting high functional diversity, richness, and abundance of birds in the coffee plantation of the Western Ghats.
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Vol. 20 • No. 2