The species composition of the Chilean avifauna is well-defined taxonomically but is not well known ecologically. We sampled avian communities at a biosphere reserve in coastal north-central Chile in three seasons over six years (18 surveys total) and characterized them in terms of community structure and composition. The avifauna (S = 56 species) was dominated by insectivores (S = 20), carnivores (S = 14), and granivores (S = 13), with lesser contributions by omnivores (S = 5), nectarivores (S = 2), folivores (S = 1), and one vagrant piscivore. The fauna varied greatly between summer and winter, and in most years the breeding season also was distinct. Eighteen species constituted a core group of residents observed in nearly all surveys, but at least 15 species were nomadic or migratory. Our site supported more insectivorous species in winter but more granivores and omnivores in the breeding season, although this observation may be confounded by species' detectability. The structure of the set of species was nested temporally, but this was not clearly caused by seasonal influx supplementing a core fauna of residents. Ordination clearly segregated all three seasons, except for one survey that was explained by very dry conditions in that year. Further research will quantify productivity and demographic responses to long-term climatic variation to compare avian and mammalian patterns with respect to extrinsically generated pulses in resources (e.g., El Niño/Southern Oscillation).
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Vol. 114 • No. 1