Sean E MacDonald; WRA, Inc. Environmental Consultants;; Henry S. Pollock, Mark E. Hauber, Bridget Strejc, Corey E. Tarwater

Environmental disturbances influence the distribution of species across space and time, with important implications for community structure and patterns of biodiversity. For example, both abiotic and biotic short-term disturbances flush concealed prey, providing important food resources to attending species. Disturbance foraging is widespread across diverse animal taxa, yet we currently lack a systematic understanding of how the behavior varies ecologically, geographically, and taxonomically on a global scale. Here, we conducted a systematic literature review of disturbance foraging behavior among birds. We documented disturbance foraging in at least 375 (~4%) species representing 29% (73) of all avian families and 56% (23) of all avian orders. The primary sources of disturbance were biotic, namely terrestrial mammals (~40%) and arthropods (~40%), followed by birds (~11%) and aquatic mammals (~6%). The behavior was most common in forest bird species (? 50% of all observations), followed by savanna/grassland species (~16%) and marine/coastal species (~11%). Geographically, the behavior was much more prevalent in tropical regions, with more than 90% of all observations occurring in the Neotropics (~50% of all observations) and the Afrotropics (~40%). Our findings represent the first global synthesis of disturbance foraging in birds and confirm its prevalence across the avian tree of life.

Wildfire and Disturbance Response  InPerson Presentation