de Biología Tropical ISSN Impreso: 0034-7744 ISSN electrónico: 2215-2075

The effects of seasonality and precipitation in the avifauna of the Argentine Southern Chaco Serrano

Gustavo Alfredo Fava, Juan Carlos Acosta, Graciela Mirta Blanco



In subtropical regions like the Chaco Serrano (33° S), rainfall has a marked seasonality, and water flood, caused by heavy rains, may have important consequences for dependent ecosystems. Conversely, the high pressure on available resources during dry periods can also affect the fauna diversity and distribution. Even though birds have shown to be excellent ecological indicators of these shifts in the environment, currently little is known about the avifauna of the Argentine Chaco Serrano phytogeographic district. Our aim was to study the resident bird population status in the Southern Chaco Serrano, its fluctuations in richness and abundance, and its relationship to seasonal variations, in monthly and annual hydroperiods. In order to assess the resident bird status over a two year period (2011 Mar.-2013 Feb.) we carried out 18 sampling surveys during pre-breeding (spring), breeding (summer) and non breeding periods (autumn-winter), in the Northeastern part of the Valle Fértil Natural Park, San Juan province, Argentina. During each site survey, we recorded bird assemblages found in six transects, and obtained bird abundance and species diversity. A mixed general linear model was employed to evaluate relationships between the studied variables. We found a total of 98 species of birds belonging to 33 families (44 resident species, 23 spring visitors, six summer visitors, two winter visitors and 23 with scarce registers). We also registered 68 of these species in both hydroperiods, 28 only during rainy periods and only two during the dry period. Both richness and abundance showed the highest values during the pre-breeding and rainy seasons, while different tendencies were detected during the isolated monthly rainfalls. These changes in bird densities were associated with the arrival of migratory species, mainly spring visitors, and probably in relationship with their reproductive activity, and to seasonal fluctuations in food resources. The Southern Chaco Serrano is a subtropical semiarid place that seems to be an important breeding habitat for many migrant bird species, which in turn promoted seasonal changes in species density and diversity, mainly during rainy years. This work contributed to our understanding on the causes of richness and abundance variations on birds, and will contribute to this important group management and conservation in this area.


Ornithology; Valle Fértil Natural Park; ecology; hydro periods; dry; semiarid


Bates, D., Maechler, M., Bolker, B., & Walker, S. (2015). lme4: Linear mixed-effects models using Eigen and S4. R package version, 1(9).

Beltzer, A. H., & Neiff., J. J. (1992). Distribución de las aves en el valle del río Paraná. Relación con el régimen pulsátil y la vegetación. Ambiente Subtropical, 2, 77-102.

Bibby, C., Jones, M., & Marsden, S. (1998). Bird surveys, expedition field techniques. London, U.K.: Expedition Advisory Center, Royal Geographical Society.

Bolker, B. M., Brooks, M. E., Clark, C. J., Geange, S. W., Poulsen, J. R., Stevens, M. H., & White, J. S. (2009). Generalized linear mixed models: a practical guide for ecology and evolution. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 24, 127-135.

Brinson, M. M. (1993). A hydrogeomorphic classification for wetlands. Wetlands Research Program Technical Report WRP-DE-4. Vicksburg, MS, U.S.: US Army Corps of Engineers Waterways Experiment Station.

Brinson, M. M. (2004). Niveles extremos de variación de patrones y procesos en humedales. En A. I. Malvárez & R. F. Bó (Eds.), Bases ecológicas para la clasificación e inventario de humedales en Argentina (pp. 19-24). Buenos Aires: FCEN (UBA)-RAMSAR-USFWS-USDS.

Buehler, D. M., & Piersma, T. (2008). Travelling on a budget: predictions and ecological evidence for bottlenecks in the annual cycle of long-distance migrants. Philosophical Transactions of Royal Society B, 363, 247-266.

Camperi, A. R., Darrieu, C. A., & Juárez, M. (2008). Avifauna de la provincia de La Rioja (Argentina): lista comentada de especies. Acta Zoológica Lilloana, 52(1-2), 76-97.

Capurro, H. A., & Bucher, E. H. (1988). Lista comentada de las aves del Bosque Chaquefio de Joaquin V. Gonzilez, Salta, Argentina. Hornero, 13, 39-46.

Casco, S. L., Neiff, M., & Neiff, J. J. (2005). Biodiversidad en ríos del litoral fluvial. Utilidad del software PULSO. Temas de la Biodiversidad del Litoral fluvial argentino II. Miscelánea, 14, 419434.

Cid, F. D., & Caviedes Vidal, E. (2005). Avifauna del Embalse La Florida (San Luis, Argentina). Actualidades Ornitológicas, 125, 10-18.

Codesido, M., & Bilenca, D. (2004). Variación Estacional de un Ensamble de Aves en un Bosque Subtropical Semiárido del Chaco Argentino. Biotrópica, 36(4), 544-554.

Codesido, M., González-Fischer, C., & Bilenca, D. (2008). Asociaciones entre diferentes patrones de uso de la tierra y ensambles de aves en agroecosistemas de la Región Pampeana, Argentina. Ornitología Neotropical, 19, 575-585.

de la Peña, M. R. (2015). Aves argentinas, incluye nidos y huevos. Tomo 1 y 2. Buenos Aires: Eudeba.

Di Giacomo, A. S., De Francesco, M. V., & Coconier, E. G. (2007). Áreas importantes para la conservación de las aves en Argentina. Sitios prioritarios para la conservación de la biodiversidad. Temas de Naturaleza y Conservación 5. Buenos Aires: Aves Argentinas/Asociación Ornitológica del Plata.

Ginzburg, R., Adámoli, J., Herrera, P., & Torrella, S. (2005). Los Humedales del Chaco: clasificación, inventario y mapeo a escala regional. Miscelánea, 14, 121-138.

Haene, E. H., Krapovickas, S. F., Moschione, F., & Gómez, D. (1995). Observaciones y comentarios biogeográficos sobre la avifauna del este de la provincia de San Juan, Argentina. Hornero, 14, 48-52.

Herrera, P., & Ortiz, U. M. (2005). La evaluación ecorregional del Gran Chaco Americano. Identificación de las áreas más importantes para la conservación. En A. Brown, U. M. Ortiz, M. Acerbi, & J. Corcuera (Eds.), La Situación Ambiental Argentina 2005, Ecorregión Chaco Seco (pp. 94-100). Buenos Aires: Fundación Vida Silvestre Argentina.

Huxman, T. E., Wilcox, B. P., Breshears, D. D., Scott, R. L., Snyder, K. A., Small, E. E., Hultine, K., Pockman, W. T., & Jackson, R. B. (2005). Ecohydrological implications of woody plant encroachment. Ecology, 86, 308-319.

Isacch, J. P., Maceira, N. O., Bo, M. S., Demaría, M. R., & Peluc, S. (2005). Bird-habitat relationship in semi-arid natural grasslands and exotic pastures in the west pampas of Argentina. Journal of Arid Environments, 62, 267-283.

Jahn, A. E., Levey, D. J., Johnson, J. E., Mamani, A. M., & Davis, S. E. (2006). Towards a mechanistic interpretation of bird migration in South America. Hornero, 21(02), 099-108

Kark, S., & Van Rensburg, B. J. (2006). Ecotones: Marginal or Central Areas of Transition? Israel Journal of Ecology & Evolution, 52(1), 29-53.

Lourenço, P. M., & Piersma, T. (2015). Migration distance and breeding latitude correlate with the scheduling of pre-alternate body moult: a comparison among migratory waders. Journal of Ornithology, 156(3), 657-665.

Maldonado, L. J. (2012). Caracterización y usos de los recursos naturales en zonas áridas. Revista Mexicana de Ciencias Forestales, 4(20), 56-63.

Marateo, G., & Arturi, M. (2013). Dinámica estacional y variación local de gremios tróficos de aves de una selva en galería y un palmar subtropical de sudamérica. Ornitologia Neotropical, 24, 213-223.

Márquez, J., Ripoll, Y., Dalmaso, A., Ariza, M., & Jordan, M. (2015). Árboles Nativos de la Provincia de San Juan. San Juan, Argentina: Universidad Nacional de San Juan.

Milesi, F. A., Marone, L., Lopez de Casenave, J., Cueto, V. R., & Mezquida, E. T. (2002). Gremios de manejo como indicadores de las condiciones del ambiente: un estudio de caso con aves y perturbaciones del hábitat en el Monte central, Argentina. Ecología Austral, 12, 149-161.

Narosky, T., & Yzurieta, D. (2010). Guía para la identificación de las aves de Argentina y Uruguay. Edición de Oro. Buenos Aires: Vázquez Mazzini Editores.

Nores, M. (1995). Insular biogeography of birds on montain-tops in north western Argentina. Journal of Biogeography, 22, 61-70.

Nores, M., & Yzurieta, D. (1983). Especiación en las Sierras Pampeanas de Córdoba y San Luis (Argentina), con descripción de siete nuevas subespecies de aves. Hornero, 12, 088-102.

Ochoa de Masramón, D. (1983). Lista de aves del nordeste de San Luis. Hornero, 12, 077-087.

Olrog, C. C., & Capllonch, P. (1986). Bio-ornitología Argentina. Historia natural, Suplemento, 2.

Remsen, J. V., Areta, J. I., Cadena, C. D., Claramunt, S., Jaramillo, A., Pacheco, J. F., Pérez-Emán, J., Robbins, M. B., Stiles, F. G., Stotz, D. F., & Zimmer, K. J. (2016). A classification of the bird species of South America. American Ornithologists' Union. [20 September 2016]. Recuperado de

Sarmiento, G. (1972). Ecological and floristic convergence between seasonal plant formations of Tropical and Subtropical South America. Ecology, 60, 367-410.

Sibly, R. M., Grimm, V., Martin, B. T., Johnston, A. S. A., Topping, C. J., Kułakowska, K., Topping, C. J., Calow, P., Nabel-Nielsen, J., Thorbek, P., & DeAngelis, D. L. (2013). Representing the acquisition and use of energy by individuals in agent-based models of animal populations. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 4, 151-161.

The R Development Core Team (2015). R: A language and environment for statistical computing. Massachusetts: R Foundation Project-GNU project.

Williams, P. H., de Klerk, H. M., & Crow, T. M. (1999). Interpreting biogeographical boundaries among Afrotropical birds: spatial patterns in richness gradients and species replacement. Journal of Biogeography, 26, 459-474.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

© 2017 Universidad de Costa Rica. Para ver más detalles sobre la distribución de los artículos en este sitio visite el aviso legal. Este sitio es desarrollado por UCRIndex y Open Journal Systems.