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Birds of Venezuela

Birds of Venezuela

John A. Gwynne
Guy Tudor
Alejandro Grajal
Larry B. McQueen
Sophie Webb
Michel Kleinbaum
John A. Gwynne
Copyright Date: 2003
Pages: 928
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  • Book Info
    Birds of Venezuela
    Book Description:

    Venezuela has an immensely rich bird fauna, with 1,381 known species, many of them found nowhere else in the world. This spectacularly illustrated, comprehensive, and up-to-date guide brings together under one cover much of what is known about these species. Its users can identify all the birds in this vast country, from the Caribbean coast in the north to the Amazonian jungles in the south, from the Andes in the west to the Gran Sabana plateau in the east.

    With a completely new text by Steven Hilty,Birds of Venezuelais a greatly expanded and thoroughly reformatted successor to the pioneeringGuide to the Birds of Venezuela(Princeton,1978). It includes sixty-seven beautiful color and black-and-white plates, most by the well-known artists John Gwynne and Guy Tudor, as well as numerous line drawings. The plates and drawings together--almost half of them never before published--depict most of Venezuela's bird species. Introductory chapters cover physical geography, climate, biogeography, vegetation and habitats, conservation, migration, and the history of ornithology in Venezuela. A gallery of forty-four stunning color habitat photos and color habitat and relief maps complete the opening section.

    Detailed range maps plot collection localities and sight records--a unique feature--for almost all species. Plumage descriptions are provided for each bird, as is extensive information on voice, behavior, and status. More than 800 bibliographic entries accompany the text, making this book an invaluable and broad-based reference to the avifauna of not only Venezuela but much of northern South America. Treating nearly 40 percent of the continent's bird species,Birds of Venezuelais the definitive resource for all birders with an eager eye on this splendorous country and the surrounding region.

    The most comprehensive, up-to-date, and best illustrated guide to the birds of VenezuelaCovers all 1,381 known species and their subspecies from the Caribbean coast to the jungles of the Amazon, from the Andes to the Gran Sabana plateau--nearly 40 percent of all bird species in South AmericaCompletely new text accompanied by more than 800 bibliographic entriesStrikingly illustrated with 67 color and black & white plates and numerous line drawings44 stunning color habitat photos and color habitat and relief mapsDetailed range maps for each species

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-3409-9
    Subjects: Zoology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Figures, Photographs, and Table
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. [Map]
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Symbols and Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  7. Plan of the Book
    (pp. 1-4)

    This book treats 1382 species of resident and migrant birds reported in Venezuela or on its island possessions as of January 2001. Several species as yet unrecorded but likely to be found in Venezuela are described in footnotes.

    Avian taxonomy is currently in a dynamic state. Classification and nomenclature in this volume borrow from recent literature in journals and several other sources¹⁰,⁴⁰³,⁵⁴⁴,⁵⁴⁵,⁶⁰⁶. The order of families follows the American Ornithologists’ Union’s (AOU) Check-list¹⁰ with a few exceptions. Family accounts discuss distribution, physical appearance, habits, breeding behavior, and sometimes taxonomic problems, with the emphasis varying from family to family.

    A brief...

  8. Topography
    (pp. 5-7)

    Shaped like a broad letter T, Venezuela sits astride the northern end of South American. The country’s long shimmery coastline is bathed in balmy Caribbean waters, and the southernmost frontier stretches deep into Amazonia. Most of the northern coast lies between 10° and 11° north latitude, whereas the southernmost equatorial tip of Amazonas state is less than 1° north. A scattering of island possessions lie varying distances offshore, mostly between about 10.5° and 12° north. The largest island possession is Isla Margarita. The northernmost—tiny Isla de Aves, at 15°42’ N, 63°38’ W–lies a little over 200km west of...

  9. Climate
    (pp. 9-10)

    Venezuela enjoys a classic warm and humid tropical climate. Two global influences dominant this climate: the northeast trade winds, which bring moisture onshore, and the twice-annual passage of the sun, which strongly affects general atmospheric circulation. Regionally the coastlines, mountains, and prevailing vegetation also play important roles and can result in dramatic climatic changes in rainfall and average wind speed in a matter of a few kilometers. Arriving international passengers witness this dramatic change in rainfall and vegetation during the short drive from the arid coast to the humid mountains surrounding Caracas.

    Seasonal change in Venezuela is marked by differences...

  10. Biogeography
    (pp. 11-12)

    Venezuela’s deserts, swampy basins, mountains, grasslands, and southern forests and tepuis divide rather broadly and naturally into seven biogeographic regions. They are (1) the arid northwest and Caribbean coast, (2) the southern Maracaibo Basin swamplands, (3) the Andes and northern mountains, (4) the llanos, (5) the Amazonian lowlands of Amazonas state, (6) the Guianan lowlands of Bolívar state, and (7) the tepui highlands spanning portions of Amazonas and Bolívar. A glance at the range maps of birds in this text shows that many distributions lie within just one or two of these seven regions. Physical barriers such as mountains, climatic...

  11. Vegetation Zones and Habitat Descriptions
    (pp. 13-30)

    Natural plant communities are affected by physical and biological factors such as temperature, rainfall, evapotranspiration, soil moisture, flood regimes, fire, the structure of the plant community, and the succession of plant species over time. Major vegetation zones (sometimes also called plant formations) are shown in Figure 4. These loosely follow Holdridge²⁶⁴ and Huber and Alacron²⁷²,⁵³⁵. They are (1) desert scrub and thorn woodland, (2) tropical dry forest, (3) tropical moist forest, (4) tropical humid forest, (5) premontane and montane dry and moist forests, (6) premontane and montane humid and wet forests, (7) savanna, and (8) paramo. Each of the eight...

  12. Conservation and National Parks
    (pp. 31-36)

    Most of Venezuela’s population is spread across the northern third of the country, and this is where the greatest environmental modification and degradation have occurred. Nevertheless, even within this settled region there are numerous protected and unprotected areas that are still relatively pristine. Some of the most heavily populated and degraded areas lie in the corridor between Caracas, Maracay, and Valencia and in the vicinity of other large population centers such as Maracaibo, San Cristobal, Mérida, Barquisimeto, Barinas, the coast from Chichiriviche to Tucacas and Puerto Cabello, the coast of eastern Anzoátegui and western Sucre, the mountains of southern Sucre...

  13. Migration
    (pp. 37-40)

    The movement of birds within Venezuela and to and from areas outside the country is far greater than has been previously recognized. Tropical avifaunas in general are more dynamic than has been acknowledged, although documentation of these movements, especially of species that are resident in the country, has barely begun. This will be evident to readers from the numerous notations in the species accounts indicating that movements are known to occur but are poorly documented.

    The greatest number of long-distance migrants comes from North America, with about 135 species (List 1). Three or four additional species, primarily vagrants on List...

  14. History of Ornithological Exploration in Venezuela
    (pp. 41-42)

    One of the earliest scientific accounts of birds in Venezuela comes from the notes of Baron Nicolas Joseph Jacquin of Holland, who visited the coast and interior of Venezuela in 1784. Descriptions of birds from his notes were later published by his son Joseph⁴⁷². The first scientific collection of birds in Venezuela was made by Alexander von Humboldt during his travels in Venezuela in 1799 and 1800. Although most of his specimens were lost in a shipwreck, descriptions of his travels and many of his scientific findings survive, including accounts of the Oilbird cave at present-day Caripe. During the remainder...

  15. Plates
    (pp. 43-177)

    The facing-page names and accompanying information mention all native described species in Venezuela, including those not illustrated. In order to compress information into limited space, only the first part of the English name of species in polytypic genera is usually mentioned; likewise the genus is usually designated only by an initial following its introduction. For scientific names, the subspecies mentioned is the one illustrated. If a subspecies is not listed, the species is monotypic.

    All illustrated species are numbered; species not illustrated are indicated in boldface print following a related congener and followed by the word “text” in parentheses. Letters...

  16. Key to Map Symbols
    (pp. 178-178)
  17. Species Accounts
    (pp. 179-834)

    Tinamous are plump, fowl-like birds confined to the New World. Related to flightless ratites, one of the oldest lineages of modern-day birds, tinamous are characterized by slender necks, small heads, short rounded wings, very short tails, and terrestrial habits. In Venezuela they are furtive birds of forested regions. Their plumages are cryptically patterned, and when alarmed tinamous prefer to walk away quietly or occasionally crouch, but they can fly rapidly for short distances. They eat a mixed diet of seeds, roots, insects, and some fruit. Tinamou breeding systems include monogamy, polygyny, and serial polyandry; in those species studied, however, polygyny...

  18. Bibliography
    (pp. 835-856)
  19. Index
    (pp. 857-876)
  20. Speed Index to Commoner Groups
    (pp. 877-878)