The Llanos of Venezuela is a 275 000-km2 freshwater wetland long recognized as an important habitat for waterbirds. However, little information exists on the raptor community of the region. We conducted raptor surveys in the Southwestern and Western Llanos during 2000-02 and detected 28 species representing 19 genera. Overall, areas of the Llanos that we sampled contained 52% of all raptor species and more than 70% of the kites, buteos, and subbuteos known to inhabit Venezuela. Regional differences in the mean number per route for four of the 14 most common species, the Crested Caracara (Caracara plancus), Black-collared Hawk (Busarellus nigricollis), American Kestrel (Falco sparverius), and Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), were significant (P < 0.0018) in relation to the wet or dry seasons. Of the 14 less common species, six were detected in only one season (wet or dry). The Southwestern and Western regions of the Llanos support a rich raptor community composed primarily of nonmigratory wetland-dependent and upland-terrestrial species. ?? 2005 The Raptor Research Foundation, Inc.
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Raptor abundance and distribution in the Llanos wetlands of Venezuela