The Cerrado is now considered the most threatened biome of South America. Northwestern Minas Gerais state, in southeastern Brazil, still harbors large areas of extreme importance for biological conservation of the Cerrado. The current study provides the first thorough assessment of the avifauna of a large remnant of Cerrado vegetation in this region, the Fazenda Brejão. Data are based on a bird survey conducted from November 1998 to January 2007. This area is a private property of 20.000 ha preserved that lies in a region recognized for its palm groves, a pristine Cerrado (savannah-like vegetation) and gallery forests. Bird censuses were carried out through random transects censuses, mist-net captures and recording bird vocalizations. It was recorded 273 species, belonging to 56 families. This represents 32% of all 857 bird species recorded for the Cerrado. Palm groves held approximately 42% of all recorded species. We also recorded endemic species of Cerrado as well as adjacent biomes such as the Atlantic Forest and the Caatinga. Regional threatened species were also recorded such as the Greater Rhea Rhea americana, the Chestnut-bellied Guan Penelope ochrogaster, the Bare-faced Curassow Crax fasciolata, the Black-and-white Hawk-eagle Spizastur melanoleucus, the Blue-and-yellow Macaw Ara ararauna, the Yellow-faced Parrot Alipiopsitta xanthops and the Minas Gerais Tyrannulet Phylloscartes roquettei. This species diversity reveals the biological importance of the region. The establishment of a natural reserve in the region will be an essential measure to guarantee the biological conservation of one of the best preserved areas of Cerrado to date in southeastern Brazil.
avian inventory; biodiversity; Cerrado; São Francisco river