Demography of forest birds in Panama: How do transients affect estimates of survival rates?

Title on liner notes: Making rain for African ornithology. Within contents, click on S06. Demography of tropical forest birds. Convenors: Francis, C.M. & Piper, S. Other sections of this IOC are published in Ostrich v. 69 #3-4 and v. 70 #1.
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Edited by:
N.J. Adams and R.H. Slotow


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Estimates of annual survival rates of neotropical birds have proven controversial. Traditionally, tropical birds were thought to have high survival rates for their size, but analyses of a multispecies assemblage from Panama by Karr et al. (1990) provided a counterexample to that view. One criticism of that study has been that the estimates were biased by transient birds captured only once as they passed through the area being sampled. New models that formally adjust for transient individuals have been developed since 1990. Preliminary analyses indicate that these models are indeed useful in modelling the data from Panama. Nonetheless, there is considerable interspecific variation and overall estimates of annual survival rates for understorey birds in Panama remain lower than those from other studies in the Neotropics and well below the rates long assumed for tropical birds (i.e. > 0.80). Therefore, tropical birds may not have systematically higher survival rates than temperate-zone species. Variation in survival rates among tropical species suggests that theory based on a simple tradeoff between clutch size and longevity is inadequate. The demographic traits of birds in the tropics (and elsewhere) vary within and among species according to some combination of historical and ongoing ecological factors. Understanding these processes is the challenge for future work.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Book chapter
Publication Subtype:
Book Chapter
Demography of forest birds in Panama: How do transients affect estimates of survival rates?
Year Published:
Bird Life South Africa
Publisher location:
Johannesburg, South Africa
Contributing office(s):
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
on CD-ROM: lxxxi, 3229
Larger Work Type:
Larger Work Subtype:
Other Government Series
Larger Work Title:
Proceedings 22nd International Ornithological Congress, 16-22 August 1998, Durban.
First page:
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