Master of Science (MS)


Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries

Document Type



Recently, it has been shown that the high species richness in western Amazonia is related to habitat heterogeneity. Some habitats are rapidly disappearing or deteriorating as a result of anthropogenic activities, resulting in loss of species. One such unique habitat is white-sand forest (hereafter WSF), which is patchily distributed and restricted to a few areas in the northern Peruvian Amazonia. Although it is known that these unique forests are rich in endemic plants, very few studies of the fauna or ecology of these habitats have been conducted. I evaluated and determined the species composition of the avifauna of the white-sand forests at five localities in the region. I sampled the surrounding habitats and determined that a group of birds is restricted to white-sand habitats. Thirty-two bird species, belonging to thirteen families, were found to have some degree of specialization on white-sand forests: nine were classified as "obligate" white-sand forest specialists, thirteen as "near-obligate" white-sand forest specialists, and ten as "facultative" white-sand forest users. I also documented patterns of local distribution of Zimmerius villarejoi and Percnostola arenarum within distinguishable types of WSF and demonstrated that both species are restricted to certain types of white-sand forests in which two species of plants, a palm and a leguminous tree, are dominant. The assessment of the uniqueness and restricted distribution of the WSF avifauna will facilitate the determination of the biological importance of this habitat and will help to promote conservation and management measures.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Robert B. Hamilton