Modelling key bird areas in Mexico and Central America

A winner of the 2011 GBF Young Researchers Award, César Antonio Rios-Muñoz, has authored a study using GBIF-mediated data to help identify key areas for birds in the lowland forests of Mexico and Central America.

GBIF-mediated data resources used : 650 bird species modelled
Rufous-naped Wren (Campylorhynchus rufinucha)

Rufous-naped Wren (Campylorhynchus rufinucha), Costa Rica. Credit: Don R. Faulker (CC BY-SA 2.0)

In this study, César Antonio Ríos-Muñoz, winner of the 2011 GBIF Young Researchers Award, and Adolfo G. Navarro-Sigüenza from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), looked at the patterns of bird distributions in a specific ecosystem in Mesoamerica.

The researchers analysed biogeographic relationships of 650 resident bird species of the seasonally dry lowland tropical forests of Mexico and Central America, among the most endangered ecosystems in the world. These forests are rich in species, many of which are endemic. About 40 per cent of the bird species in the area are restricted to this habitat.

Occurrence data for the 650 species of birds studied came from scientific literature, museum specimens, field guides and online scientific collection databases including GBIF. Based on these, the researchers employed modelling techniques to produce maps of species richness and areas of endemism (clusters of unique species), to help identify key locations for the conservation of birds in the region.

Ríos-Muñoz, C.A. & Navarro-Sigüenza, A.G., 2012. Patterns of species richness and biogeographic regionalization of the avifaunas of the seasonally dry tropical forest in Mesoamerica. Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment, (November 2012), pp.1–12. Available at:

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  • Mexico