Birds at Santa Bárbara Ecological Station, one of the last Cerrado remnants in the state of São Paulo, Brazil

Aves da Estação Ecológica de Santa Bárbara, um dos últimos remanescentes de Cerrado no Estado de São Paulo, Brasil

Anderson da Silva Lucindo Alexsander Zamorano Antunes Marina Mitsue Kanashiro Manoel Martins Dias About the authors

Abstracts

In the state of São Paulo, southeastern Brazil, the phytophysiognomy known as Cerrado takes less than 1% of its original cover. Thus, the establishment and management of protected areas are essential to save a significant sample of biodiversity of this environment in the region. The Santa Bárbara Ecological Station is one of the largest protected areas in São Paulo, and one of the few ones to cover a mosaic with most of the vegetation types of Cerrado. This article aims to increase the knowledge of avifauna in the reserve, showing new bird records and evaluating the association of species to their physiognomies. We carried out surveys from 2008 to 2013, which resulted in the record of 226 species, or 246 when in regard to Willis & Oniki’s works (1981, 2003). Twenty-two are regionally threatened, and five globally threatened. Despite showing lower species richness, grasslands stood out because of the number of species of conservation concern. Preventing the densification of woody vegetation and controlling the invasion of alien plants are important management actions for the conservation of the bird assemblages at Santa Bárbara reserve, one of the last open Cerrado remnants in São Paulo.

conservation; protected area; management; savanna


Atualmente no estado de São Paulo, o Cerrado ocupa menos de um por cento de sua cobertura original. O estabelecimento e o manejo de unidades de conservação de proteção integral são fundamentais para resguardar uma amostra significativa da biodiversidade deste domínio fitogeográfico em território paulista. A Estação Ecológica de Santa Bárbara está entre as maiores áreas protegidas em São Paulo, e é uma das poucas a contemplar um mosaico dos diferentes tipos de vegetação de Cerrado. Os objetivos do presente trabalho foram ampliar o conhecimento sobre a avifauna da estação e avaliar a associação das espécies com as diferentes fitofisionomias. A amostragem ocorreu entre 2008 e 2013. Foram registradas 226 espécies de aves, ou 246 considerando os primeiros estudos na área (Willis & Oniki 1981WILLIS, E.O. & ONIKI, Y. 1981. Levantamento preliminar de aves em treze áreas do Estado de São Paulo. Rev. Brasil. Biol. 41(1):121-135., 2003WILLIS, E.O. & ONIKI, Y. 2003. Aves do Estado de São Paulo. Divisa, Rio Claro.). Vinte e duas encontram-se regionalmente ameaçadas de extinção e cinco ameaçadas globalmente. Apesar da menor riqueza específica, as formações campestres destacaram-se pelo número de espécies ameaçadas. Evitar o adensamento da vegetação arbórea e controlar a invasão por plantas exóticas são práticas de manejo fundamentais para a conservação das assembléias de aves na estação ecológica, um dos últimos remanescentes de Cerrado aberto em São Paulo.

conservação; área protegida; manejo; savana


Introduction

In the Brazilian states of São Paulo and Paraná, Cerrado phytophysiognomies appear as open vegetation enclaves immersed in a forest matrix, establishing the southern boundary of this domain (Durigan et al. 2006DURIGAN, G., SIQUEIRA, M.F., FRANCO, G.A.D.C. & RATTER, J.M. 2006. Seleção de fragmentos prioritários para a conservação do cerrado no Estado de São Paulo. Rev. Inst. Flor. 18:23-37.). In São Paulo, where the Cerrado took nearly 14% of the area, today less than 1% of its original cover remains (Kronka et al. 2005KRONKA, F.J.N. et al. 2005. Inventário florestal da vegetação natural do Estado de São Paulo. Secretaria do Meio Ambiente/Instituto Florestal, São Paulo.), and only 0.5% is protected area, including ecotones with the Atlantic Forest domain (Durigan et al. 2006DURIGAN, G., SIQUEIRA, M.F., FRANCO, G.A.D.C. & RATTER, J.M. 2006. Seleção de fragmentos prioritários para a conservação do cerrado no Estado de São Paulo. Rev. Inst. Flor. 18:23-37.).

Regarded as the most biodiverse tropical Savanna, Cerrado is among the 34 areas with higher conservation priorities, also known as hotspots of biodiversity of the world (Mittermeier et al. 2004MITTERMEIER, R.A., GIL, P.R., HOFFMAN, M., PILGRIM, J., BROOKS, T., MITTERMEIER, C.G., LAMOREUX, J. & FONSECA, G.A. 2004. Hotspots revisited: Earth’s biologically richest and most endangered terrestrial ecoregions. Conservation International, Chicago.). In this context, the birds constitute the animal group best known from both taxonomic and ecological viewpoints. The avifauna inventory in Cerrado remnants may contribute to select areas aimed for the creation of reserves, as well as to monitor ecological restoration actions within the already implemented ones.

There are 856 known bird species in the Cerrado domain, within which 30 (3.5%) are considered endemic (Silva & Santos 2005SILVA, J.M.C. & SANTOS M.P.D. 2005. A importância relativa dos processos biogeográficos na formação da avifauna do Cerrado e de outros biomas brasileiros. In: Cerrado: Ecologia, biodiversidade e conservação (A. Scariot, J.C. Sousa-Silva & J.M. Felfili orgs). Ministério do Meio Ambiente, Brasília. p.219-233.). In comprehensive analyses of Cerrado avifauna, Silva (1995aSILVA, J.M.C. 1995a. Biogeographic analysis of the South American Cerrado avifauna. Steenstrupia 21:49-67., b, 1996) excluded the Cerrado in São Paulo and Paraná, which he designated as enclaves within the Atlantic forest. Nonetheless, among the endemic species (Silva 1995bSILVA, J.M.C. 1995b. Birds of the Cerrado region, South America. Steenstrupia 21:69-92., Silva & Santos 2005SILVA, J.M.C. & SANTOS M.P.D. 2005. A importância relativa dos processos biogeográficos na formação da avifauna do Cerrado e de outros biomas brasileiros. In: Cerrado: Ecologia, biodiversidade e conservação (A. Scariot, J.C. Sousa-Silva & J.M. Felfili orgs). Ministério do Meio Ambiente, Brasília. p.219-233.), 16 (53%) of them still occur in patches located within São Paulo (Willis & Oniki 2003WILLIS, E.O. & ONIKI, Y. 2003. Aves do Estado de São Paulo. Divisa, Rio Claro.). For this reason, many authors believe an analysis of these bird species makes more sense when they are regarded as part of the Cerrado (Willis 2004WILLIS, E.O. 2004. Birds of a habitat spectrum in the Itirapina savanna, São Paulo, Brazil (1982-2003). Braz. J Biol. 64(4):901-910., Motta-Júnior et al. 2008MOTTA-JÚNIOR, J.C., GRANZINOLLI, M.A.M. & DEVELEY, P.F. 2008. Aves da Estação Ecológica de Itirapina, estado de São Paulo, Brasil. Biota Neotrop. 8(3):207-227 http://www.biotaneotropica.org.br/v8n3/en/abstract?inventory+bn00308032008 (last access on 09/03/2013). doi: 10.1590/S1676-06032008000200010
http://www.biotaneotropica.org.br/v8n3/e...
, Batalha et al. 2010BATALHA, M.A., CIANCIARUSO, M.V. & MOTTA-JÚNIOR, J.C. 2010. Consequences of simulated loss of open cerrado areas to bird functional diversity. Nat. Conservação 8(1):34-40., Fieker et al. 2013FIEKER, C.Z., REIS M.G. & DIAS-FILHO, M.M. 2013. Structure of bird assemblages in dry and seasonally flooded grasslands in Itirapina Ecological Station, São Paulo state. Braz. J Biol. 73(1):91-101. doi: 10.1590/S1519-69842013000100011
https://doi.org/10.1590/S1519-6984201300...
).

Willis & Oniki (1981)WILLIS, E.O. & ONIKI, Y. 1981. Levantamento preliminar de aves em treze áreas do Estado de São Paulo. Rev. Brasil. Biol. 41(1):121-135. were pioneers in bird censuses in São Paulo protected areas, especially in Cerrado and semideciduous forests of interior plateaus. In their studies, they included three Cerrado areas, named ecological stations of Assis, Mogi Guaçu (formerly Fazenda Campininha), and Santa Bárbara (formerly Santa Bárbara do Rio Pardo), the latter highlighted for the occurrence of endemic and threatened species of Cerrado, as happens at the Itirapina Ecological Station (Motta-Júnior et al. 2008MOTTA-JÚNIOR, J.C., GRANZINOLLI, M.A.M. & DEVELEY, P.F. 2008. Aves da Estação Ecológica de Itirapina, estado de São Paulo, Brasil. Biota Neotrop. 8(3):207-227 http://www.biotaneotropica.org.br/v8n3/en/abstract?inventory+bn00308032008 (last access on 09/03/2013). doi: 10.1590/S1676-06032008000200010
http://www.biotaneotropica.org.br/v8n3/e...
).

Santa Bárbara Ecological Station currently harbors up to 330 vertebrate species (São Paulo 2011SÃO PAULO. 2011. Estação Ecológica de Santa Bárbara - plano de manejo. Available from URL: http://www.iflorestal.sp.gov.br/Plano_de_manejo/eec_santa_barbara/Plano_de_Manejo_EEc_Santa_Barbara.pdf (last access on 04/29/2013).
http://www.iflorestal.sp.gov.br/Plano_de...
, Araújo et al. 2010ARAÚJO, C.O., CORRÊA-FILHO, D.T. & SAWAYA, R.J. 2010. Snake assemblage of Estação Ecológica de Santa Bárbara, SP: a Cerrado remnant in Southeastern Brazil. Biota Neotrop. 10(2):235-245 http://www.biotaneotropica.org.br/v10n2/en/abstract?inventory+bn01410022010 (last access on 12/24/2014).
http://www.biotaneotropica.org.br/v10n2/...
, 2013ARAÚJO, C.O., CORRÊA, D.T. & SANTOS, S.M.A. 2013. Anuros da Estação Ecológica de Santa Bárbara, um remanescente de formações abertas de Cerrado no estado de São Paulo. Biota Neotrop. 13(3):230-240 http://www.biotaneotropica.org.br/v13n3/pt/abstract?inventory+bn01613032013 (last access on 12/24/2014). doi: 10.1590/S1676-06032013000300026
http://www.biotaneotropica.org.br/v13n3/...
) and 530 vascular plants species (Meira-Neto et al. 2007MEIRA-NETO, J.A.A., MARTINS, F.R. & VALENTE, G.E. 2007. Composição florística e espectro biológico na Estação Ecológica de Santa Bárbara, estado de São Paulo, Brasil. Rev. Árvore 31(5):907-922., São Paulo 2011SÃO PAULO. 2011. Estação Ecológica de Santa Bárbara - plano de manejo. Available from URL: http://www.iflorestal.sp.gov.br/Plano_de_manejo/eec_santa_barbara/Plano_de_Manejo_EEc_Santa_Barbara.pdf (last access on 04/29/2013).
http://www.iflorestal.sp.gov.br/Plano_de...
). It is one of the few protected areas to cover a mosaic with most vegetation types in Cerrado. A comparison with other Cerrado bird assemblages within São Paulo could clarify the understanding of the patterns of avian species richness and species-physiognomy relation in the Ecological Station. Published bird surveys encompass forest physiognomies of Cerrado (Telles & Dias 2010TELLES, M. & DIAS, M.M. 2010. Bird communities in two fragments of Cerrado in Itirapina, Brazil. Braz. J Biol. 70(3):537-550. doi: 10.1590/S1519-69842010000300010
https://doi.org/10.1590/S1519-6984201000...
, Cavarzere et al. 2011CAVARZERE, V., MORAES, G.P., DALBETO, A.C., MACIEL, F.G. & DONATELLI, R.J. 2011. Birds from cerradão woodland, an overlooked forest of the Cerrado region, Brazil. Pap. Avulsos Zool. 51(17):259-274.); shrubby ones (Willis 2006WILLIS, E.O. 2006. Protected Cerrado fragments grow up and lose even metapopulational birds in Central São Paulo, Brazil. Braz. J. Biol. 66(3):829-837. doi: 10.1590/S1519-69842006000500008
https://doi.org/10.1590/S1519-6984200600...
); forest and shrubby ones (Motta-Júnior 1990MOTTA-JÚNIOR, J.C. 1990. Estrutura trófica e composição das avifaunas de três habitats na região Central do Estado de São Paulo. Ararajuba 1:65-71., Dias 2000DIAS, M.M. 2000. Avifauna das Estações Ecológicas do Jataí e Experimental de Luiz Antônio, São Paulo, Brasil. In: Estudos integrados em ecossistemas - Estação Ecológica de Jataí V. 1 (J.E. Santos & J.S.R. Pires orgs). Rima Editora, São Carlos. p.285-301., Manica et al. 2011); forest, shrubby and grassland ones (Motta-Júnior et al. 2008MOTTA-JÚNIOR, J.C., GRANZINOLLI, M.A.M. & DEVELEY, P.F. 2008. Aves da Estação Ecológica de Itirapina, estado de São Paulo, Brasil. Biota Neotrop. 8(3):207-227 http://www.biotaneotropica.org.br/v8n3/en/abstract?inventory+bn00308032008 (last access on 09/03/2013). doi: 10.1590/S1676-06032008000200010
http://www.biotaneotropica.org.br/v8n3/e...
), and Atlantic forest-savanna bondaries (Develey et al. 2005DEVELEY, P.F., CAVANA, D.D. & PIVELLO, V.R. 2005. Caracterização de grupos biológicos do cerrado Pé-do-Gigante - Aves. In: O cerrado Pé-do-Gigante: ecologia e conservação (V.R. Pivello & E.M. Varanda orgs). SMA, São Paulo. p.121-134.).

This article aims to increase knowledge of the birds at Santa Bárbara Ecological Station, showing new bird records; evaluating species richness and its relation to the local physiognomies, and examining the relevance of maintaining this reserve for the conservation of birds in the Cerrado of São Paulo.

Material and Methods

1. Study area

Santa Bárbara Ecological Station (headquarters at 22°48’54”S and 49°14’12”W) takes an area of 2,712 ha in the county of Águas de Santa Bárbara. The altitude ranges between 600-680 m and climate is classified as Köppen’s Cwa, with warm summer and dry winter. Based on field observations and literature (Stotz et al. 1996STOTZ, D.F., FITZPATRICK, J.W., PARKER III, T.A & MOSKOVITS, D.K. 1996. Neotropical Birds: ecology and conservation. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.), we classified the vegetation into three main phytophysiognomies, namely: open grass savanna, which consists of wet grassland remnants and campo cerrado; shrubby savanna (cerrado sensu stricto); and woody savanna (forest-like vegetation), formed by dense cerrado, cerradão woodland, semideciduous seasonal forest, riparian vegetation and marsh-like vegetation. There are also capoeiras, plots of Pinus spp. and Eucalyptus spp., anthropic fields (pastures with invasive alien grasses), and aquatic vegetation associated with streams and water reservoirs. The Management Plan for the reserve shows a map with the distribution of local physiognomies (São Paulo 2011SÃO PAULO. 2011. Estação Ecológica de Santa Bárbara - plano de manejo. Available from URL: http://www.iflorestal.sp.gov.br/Plano_de_manejo/eec_santa_barbara/Plano_de_Manejo_EEc_Santa_Barbara.pdf (last access on 04/29/2013).
http://www.iflorestal.sp.gov.br/Plano_de...
).

The local avifauna was previously surveyed by Willis & Oniki (1981WILLIS, E.O. & ONIKI, Y. 1981. Levantamento preliminar de aves em treze áreas do Estado de São Paulo. Rev. Brasil. Biol. 41(1):121-135., 2003)WILLIS, E.O. & ONIKI, Y. 2003. Aves do Estado de São Paulo. Divisa, Rio Claro., who visited the area between 1976 and 1989, and recorded 131 bird species in 17 transect hours.

2. Bird census

Birds were surveyed with transect counts (Bibby et al. 1993BIBBY, C.J., BURGESS, N.D. & HILL, D.A. 1993. Bird census techniques. Academic Press, San Diego.), which consist of walking slowly at a speed of about 1 km/h on trails, firebreaks and roads, registering each individual bird contacted. We visited excerpts of all environments at Santa Bárbara Ecological Station between October 2008 and August 2013, for 380 hours of sampling effort.

Observations of birds were aided with 8 x 42 binoculars. For documentation purposes, we used professional recorders Sony PCM-D50 and Marantz PMD222, with a Sennheiser ME66/K6C Shotgun microphone, and a camera Canon SX30 IS. Sound recordings have been deposited at Xeno-Canto database (http://www.xeno-canto.org). Geographic coordinates of the main sampled areas were obtained with GPS Garmin e-Trex Summit, with geodetic system in SAD 69 Datum.

The scientific nomenclature adopted comes from the Comitê Brasileiro de Registros Ornitológicos (CBRO 2014). When defining threatened species, we followed the official list of São Paulo (Silveira et al. 2009SILVEIRA, L.F., BENEDICTO, G.A., SCHUNCK, F. & SUGIEDA, A.M. 2009. Aves. In: Fauna ameaçada de extinção no Estado de São Paulo: Vertebrados. (P.M. Bressan, M.C. Kierulff & A.M. Sugieda orgs). SMA, São Paulo. p. 87-282.), the Brazilian list (Silveira & Straube 2008SILVEIRA, L.F. & STRAUBE, F.C. 2008. Aves ameaçadas de Extinção no Brasil. In: Livro Vermelho da Fauna Brasileira Ameaçada de Extinção. (A.B.M. Machado, G.M. Drummond & A.P. Paglia orgs). Fundação Biodiversitas, Belo Horizonte; Ministério do Meio Ambiente, Brasília, v. 2, p. 378-666.), and the global list (IUCN red list) (BirdLife International 2014BIRDLIFE INTERNATIONAL 2014. IUCN red list for birds. Available from URL: http://www.birdlife.org/ (last access on 12/24/2014).
http://www.birdlife.org/...
). For defining species endemic to the Cerrado, we relied on Silva & Santos (2005), Motta-Júnior et al. (2008)MOTTA-JÚNIOR, J.C., GRANZINOLLI, M.A.M. & DEVELEY, P.F. 2008. Aves da Estação Ecológica de Itirapina, estado de São Paulo, Brasil. Biota Neotrop. 8(3):207-227 http://www.biotaneotropica.org.br/v8n3/en/abstract?inventory+bn00308032008 (last access on 09/03/2013). doi: 10.1590/S1676-06032008000200010
http://www.biotaneotropica.org.br/v8n3/e...
, and Vasconcelos (2008)VASCONCELOS, M.F. 2008. Mountaintop endemism in eastern Brazil: why some bird species from campos rupestres of the Espinhaço Range are not endemic to the Cerrado region? Rev. Bras. Ornitol. 16(4):348-362..

Species composition was compared to other areas of Cerrado within São Paulo, namely: Botanical Garden/UNESP Reserve in Bauru (Cavarzere et al. 2011CAVARZERE, V., MORAES, G.P., DALBETO, A.C., MACIEL, F.G. & DONATELLI, R.J. 2011. Birds from cerradão woodland, an overlooked forest of the Cerrado region, Brazil. Pap. Avulsos Zool. 51(17):259-274.), Canchim Farm in São Carlos (Manica et al. 2010MANICA, L.T., TELLES, M. & DIAS, M.M. 2010. Bird richness and composition in a Cerrado fragment in the State of São Paulo. Braz. J. Biol. 70(2):243-254. doi: 10.1590/S1519-69842010005000001
https://doi.org/10.1590/S1519-6984201000...
), UNESP Reserve in Corumbataí (Willis 2006WILLIS, E.O. 2006. Protected Cerrado fragments grow up and lose even metapopulational birds in Central São Paulo, Brazil. Braz. J. Biol. 66(3):829-837. doi: 10.1590/S1519-69842006000500008
https://doi.org/10.1590/S1519-6984200600...
), Itirapina Ecological Station (Willis 2004WILLIS, E.O. 2004. Birds of a habitat spectrum in the Itirapina savanna, São Paulo, Brazil (1982-2003). Braz. J Biol. 64(4):901-910., Motta-Júnior et al. 2008MOTTA-JÚNIOR, J.C., GRANZINOLLI, M.A.M. & DEVELEY, P.F. 2008. Aves da Estação Ecológica de Itirapina, estado de São Paulo, Brasil. Biota Neotrop. 8(3):207-227 http://www.biotaneotropica.org.br/v8n3/en/abstract?inventory+bn00308032008 (last access on 09/03/2013). doi: 10.1590/S1676-06032008000200010
http://www.biotaneotropica.org.br/v8n3/e...
, Fieker et al. 2013FIEKER, C.Z., REIS M.G. & DIAS-FILHO, M.M. 2013. Structure of bird assemblages in dry and seasonally flooded grasslands in Itirapina Ecological Station, São Paulo state. Braz. J Biol. 73(1):91-101. doi: 10.1590/S1519-69842013000100011
https://doi.org/10.1590/S1519-6984201300...
), Itirapina Experimental Station (Telles & Dias 2010TELLES, M. & DIAS, M.M. 2010. Bird communities in two fragments of Cerrado in Itirapina, Brazil. Braz. J Biol. 70(3):537-550. doi: 10.1590/S1519-69842010000300010
https://doi.org/10.1590/S1519-6984201000...
), Jataí Ecological Station (Dias 2000DIAS, M.M. 2000. Avifauna das Estações Ecológicas do Jataí e Experimental de Luiz Antônio, São Paulo, Brasil. In: Estudos integrados em ecossistemas - Estação Ecológica de Jataí V. 1 (J.E. Santos & J.S.R. Pires orgs). Rima Editora, São Carlos. p.285-301.), Cerrado Pé-de-Gigante/Vassununga State Park (Willis & Oniki 2003WILLIS, E.O. & ONIKI, Y. 2003. Aves do Estado de São Paulo. Divisa, Rio Claro., Develey et al. 2005DEVELEY, P.F., CAVANA, D.D. & PIVELLO, V.R. 2005. Caracterização de grupos biológicos do cerrado Pé-do-Gigante - Aves. In: O cerrado Pé-do-Gigante: ecologia e conservação (V.R. Pivello & E.M. Varanda orgs). SMA, São Paulo. p.121-134.), and UFSCar, campus São Carlos (Motta-Júnior 1990MOTTA-JÚNIOR, J.C. 1990. Estrutura trófica e composição das avifaunas de três habitats na região Central do Estado de São Paulo. Ararajuba 1:65-71.) (Figure 1). Similarities (Jaccard’s index) between areas were evaluated through the UPGMA clustering analysis with Euclidean distance matrix, using the R stats package (R Development Core Team 2008R DEVELOPMENT CORE TEAM. 2008. A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. Available from URL: http://www.R-project.org (last access on 01/01/2014).
http://www.R-project.org...
).

Figure 1.
Cerrado locations within São Paulo state with published bird surveys.

Results and Discussion

We found 226 avian species, of which 128 were tape-recorded and 79 photographed, counting upon 69% of the avifauna. Along with Willis and Oniki’s transect counts, Santa Bárbara Ecological Station reaches 246 species (Table 1). The two studies had 111 species in common, reaching 45% of similarity at different times. Twenty species were found only in the 1980s, and 115 species found in this study had not been previously reported for the area, an increase of the local species list by 87%. The bird list of the ecological station can possibly be expanded with more surveys. However, the nuclear avifauna for each phytophysiognomy, i.e. the set of resident and regular migratory species (Remsen 1994REMSEN, J.V. 1994. Use and misuse of bird lists in community ecology and conservation. Auk 111(1):225-227.), was determined. Therefore, we believe data showed here constitute a strong basis for local assemblages.

Table 1.
Birds recorded at Santa Bárbara Ecological Station, São Paulo, Brazil. Types of documentation: T = tape-record; P = photograph. Status: NT = near threatened; CR = critically endangered; EN = endangered; VU = vulnerable. SP = local list of threatened species; BR = Brazilian list; red list = global list. N = number of contacts. Ecosystems: RS = reservoirs and swamps; AF = anthropic field (pasture); CC = campo cerrado; DC = dense cerrado; CW = cerradão woodland; WG = wet grassland; SS = cerrado sensu stricto; RV = riparian vegetation; SF = semideciduous seasonal forest; and MV = marsh-like vegetation. lak: species reported in this study; wo: species exclusively reported by Willis & Oniki (1981WILLIS, E.O. & ONIKI, Y. 1981. Levantamento preliminar de aves em treze áreas do Estado de São Paulo. Rev. Brasil. Biol. 41(1):121-135., 2003)WILLIS, E.O. & ONIKI, Y. 2003. Aves do Estado de São Paulo. Divisa, Rio Claro..
Table 2.
Cerrado areas with exhaustive bird surveys within São Paulo state.

We observed 90 species in open grass savannas, 81 in shrubby savannas, and 124 in woody savannas (Figure 2). The number of exclusive species was significantly higher in the forest environments than in the savanna ones. Sick (1966)SICK, H. 1966. As aves do Cerrado como fauna arborícola. An. Acad. Bras. Cienc. 38(2):355-363. and Silva & Santos (2005) described the avifauna in Cerrado as a predominantly forest group living in a biome mainly covered by savannas, since 72% of species use forest physiognomies. Besides, several species from open formations require the vegetation mosaic to keep their population, because they obtain resources in savanna spots and forest edges (Piratelli & Blake 2006PIRATELLI, A. & BLAKE, J.G. 2006. Bird communities of the southeastern Cerrado region, Brazil. Ornitol. Neotrop. 17:213-225.). On the other hand, the records of threatened species were more frequent in environments with open vegetation, such as campo cerrado and wet grassland. Ignoring anthropogenic habitats and individual birds flying over, grasslands had the highest proportion of species of conservation concern (14%).

Figure 2.
Bird species richness in three sets of habitats observed at Santa Bárbara Ecological Station, São Paulo, Brazil.

In general, Santa Bárbara assemblages correspond to 29% of the known Cerrado avifauna (Silva & Santos 2005SILVA, J.M.C. & SANTOS M.P.D. 2005. A importância relativa dos processos biogeográficos na formação da avifauna do Cerrado e de outros biomas brasileiros. In: Cerrado: Ecologia, biodiversidade e conservação (A. Scariot, J.C. Sousa-Silva & J.M. Felfili orgs). Ministério do Meio Ambiente, Brasília. p.219-233.), with six species restricted to this domain: Melanopareia torquata (Wied, 1831), Antilophia galeata (Lichtenstein, 1823), Cyanocorax cristatellus (Temminck, 1823), Saltatricula atricollis (Vieillot, 1817), Cypsnagra hirundinacea (Lesson, 1831), and Neothraupis fasciata (Lichtenstein, 1823). Seven local species are nearly threatened and twenty-two are threatened in São Paulo, within which four are in the Brazilian list and five in the global list. Among the species threatened in São Paulo, eight (38%) are in the critically endangered category, i.e. with extremely high risk of regional extinction; three were found only by Willis & Oniki (1981WILLIS, E.O. & ONIKI, Y. 1981. Levantamento preliminar de aves em treze áreas do Estado de São Paulo. Rev. Brasil. Biol. 41(1):121-135., 2003)WILLIS, E.O. & ONIKI, Y. 2003. Aves do Estado de São Paulo. Divisa, Rio Claro.: Cistothorus platensis (Latham, 1790), Anthus nattereri Sclater, 1878, and Coryphaspiza melanotis (Temminck, 1822).

When compared to other Cerrado sampled areas in São Paulo, Santa Bárbara is among those richer in bird species, as well as in the number of endemic and threatened species (Table 1). Many other Cerrado bird assemblages in São Paulo are composed by forest species, and few are in conservation concern (Motta-Júnior 1990MOTTA-JÚNIOR, J.C. 1990. Estrutura trófica e composição das avifaunas de três habitats na região Central do Estado de São Paulo. Ararajuba 1:65-71., Develey et al. 2005DEVELEY, P.F., CAVANA, D.D. & PIVELLO, V.R. 2005. Caracterização de grupos biológicos do cerrado Pé-do-Gigante - Aves. In: O cerrado Pé-do-Gigante: ecologia e conservação (V.R. Pivello & E.M. Varanda orgs). SMA, São Paulo. p.121-134., Telles & Dias 2010TELLES, M. & DIAS, M.M. 2010. Bird communities in two fragments of Cerrado in Itirapina, Brazil. Braz. J Biol. 70(3):537-550. doi: 10.1590/S1519-69842010000300010
https://doi.org/10.1590/S1519-6984201000...
, Cavarzere et al. 2011CAVARZERE, V., MORAES, G.P., DALBETO, A.C., MACIEL, F.G. & DONATELLI, R.J. 2011. Birds from cerradão woodland, an overlooked forest of the Cerrado region, Brazil. Pap. Avulsos Zool. 51(17):259-274.). In the Cerrado, forest habitats such as cerradão woodlands attract more forest avian species (Silva 1995bSILVA, J.M.C. 1995b. Birds of the Cerrado region, South America. Steenstrupia 21:69-92., Silva & Santos 2005SILVA, J.M.C. & SANTOS M.P.D. 2005. A importância relativa dos processos biogeográficos na formação da avifauna do Cerrado e de outros biomas brasileiros. In: Cerrado: Ecologia, biodiversidade e conservação (A. Scariot, J.C. Sousa-Silva & J.M. Felfili orgs). Ministério do Meio Ambiente, Brasília. p.219-233.), which could explain parts of the differences between studies.

On the other hand, Santa Bárbara and Itirapina Ecological Stations were more similar regarding the different types of avifauna, differing from geographically closer areas (Figure 3). It has been suggested that closer specific composition in both areas is due to similarities in the mosaic of grassland and savanna physiognomies and their surroundings (Willis 2004WILLIS, E.O. 2004. Birds of a habitat spectrum in the Itirapina savanna, São Paulo, Brazil (1982-2003). Braz. J Biol. 64(4):901-910., Motta-Júnior et al. 2008MOTTA-JÚNIOR, J.C., GRANZINOLLI, M.A.M. & DEVELEY, P.F. 2008. Aves da Estação Ecológica de Itirapina, estado de São Paulo, Brasil. Biota Neotrop. 8(3):207-227 http://www.biotaneotropica.org.br/v8n3/en/abstract?inventory+bn00308032008 (last access on 09/03/2013). doi: 10.1590/S1676-06032008000200010
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). Differences in species composition between them probably reflect the proportions of occupation by physiognomies on each. Santa Bárbara has a greater extension of arboreal formations, which takes nearly 20% of its surface while in Itirapina, grasslands cover 40% of the area (São Paulo 2006, 2011). Apart from that some absences in the Santa Bárbara assemblage are due to the distribution of certain species in the state, for instance, Clibanornis rectirostris (Wied, 1831) and Myiothlypis leucophrys (Pelzeln, 1868) from Itirapina riparian vegetation, which are lacking on the left bank of Tietê river (Willis & Oniki 2003WILLIS, E.O. & ONIKI, Y. 2003. Aves do Estado de São Paulo. Divisa, Rio Claro.).

Figure 3.
UPGMA clustering of Cerrado areas with bird assemblages sampled within São Paulo, with leaves hang according to the Euclidean distances from each other.

Grassland avifaunas in both Santa Bárbara and Itirapina are highlighted for the number of threatened species (Motta-Júnior et al. 2008MOTTA-JÚNIOR, J.C., GRANZINOLLI, M.A.M. & DEVELEY, P.F. 2008. Aves da Estação Ecológica de Itirapina, estado de São Paulo, Brasil. Biota Neotrop. 8(3):207-227 http://www.biotaneotropica.org.br/v8n3/en/abstract?inventory+bn00308032008 (last access on 09/03/2013). doi: 10.1590/S1676-06032008000200010
http://www.biotaneotropica.org.br/v8n3/e...
). Within these reserves, grasslands have lost their areas due to colonization by pine Pinus elliottii Engelm as well as by vegetation densification, with more intensity at Santa Bárbara where previously it was practiced extensive livestock. To make cattle farming possible, people used to set fire in the local vegetation, favoring the grasslands and preventing an increasing in tree density. With the suppression of these activities, open-habitats tend to be restricted to areas where the soil suffers water saturation, at least seasonally (São Paulo 2011SÃO PAULO. 2011. Estação Ecológica de Santa Bárbara - plano de manejo. Available from URL: http://www.iflorestal.sp.gov.br/Plano_de_manejo/eec_santa_barbara/Plano_de_Manejo_EEc_Santa_Barbara.pdf (last access on 04/29/2013).
http://www.iflorestal.sp.gov.br/Plano_de...
). Moreover, avoiding fire, which leads vegetation densification, may eliminate bird habitats in the medium and long terms, since several species are adapted to the fire dynamic in the Cerrado (Parker III & Willis 1997PARKER III, T.A & WILLIS, E.O. 1997. Notes on three tiny grassland flycatchers, with comments on the disappearance of South American fire-diversified savannas. Ornithol Monogr. 48:549-555. doi: 10.2307/40157552
https://doi.org/10.2307/40157552...
). In turn, the loss of grassland birds will have an impact on local ecological processes in both reserves, since this assemblage is functionally complementary to the forest and savanna environments (Batalha et al. 2010BATALHA, M.A., CIANCIARUSO, M.V. & MOTTA-JÚNIOR, J.C. 2010. Consequences of simulated loss of open cerrado areas to bird functional diversity. Nat. Conservação 8(1):34-40.).

Scientific evidence about management implications on fauna, such as avoiding fires aiming to improve the effectiveness of protected areas, is still limited (Geldmann et al. 2013GELDMANN, J., BARNES, M., COAD, L., CRAIGIE, I.D., HOCKINGS, M. & BURGESS, N.D. 2013. Effectiveness of terrestrial protected areas in reducing habitat loss and population declines. Biol. Conserv. 161:230-238. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2013.02.018
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2013.02...
). The Santa Bárbara Ecological Station Management Plan was recently completed (São Paulo 2011SÃO PAULO. 2011. Estação Ecológica de Santa Bárbara - plano de manejo. Available from URL: http://www.iflorestal.sp.gov.br/Plano_de_manejo/eec_santa_barbara/Plano_de_Manejo_EEc_Santa_Barbara.pdf (last access on 04/29/2013).
http://www.iflorestal.sp.gov.br/Plano_de...
). Its main goal is to recover local physiognomies to the proportions observed in 2011. To reach this goal, some priority researches were listed, such as the role of controlled fires and herbivory in order to maintain the mosaic of vegetation, and the controlling and eradication of invasive exotic plant species (São Paulo 2011SÃO PAULO. 2011. Estação Ecológica de Santa Bárbara - plano de manejo. Available from URL: http://www.iflorestal.sp.gov.br/Plano_de_manejo/eec_santa_barbara/Plano_de_Manejo_EEc_Santa_Barbara.pdf (last access on 04/29/2013).
http://www.iflorestal.sp.gov.br/Plano_de...
). These researches must evaluate the natural occurrence of fire, its frequency, and which areas need to be managed annually to maintain the percentage representation of physiognomies. Results obtained in other Cerrado regions may not necessarily be generalized, with case studies and gathering of researchers from different knowledge areas important to carry out a comprehensive evaluation (França et al. 2007FRANÇA, H., RAMOS-NETO, M.B. & SETZER, A. 2007. O fogo no Parque Nacional das Emas. Ministério do Meio Ambiente, Brasília.).

Thus, avifauna monitoring may contribute to evaluate the effectiveness of management actions at Santa Bárbara Ecological Station, especially when regarding noteworthy records.

1. Noteworthy records

Greater Rhea Rhea americana (critically endangered, SP)

Species globally nearly threatened and heavily hunted in the region in recent decades, as well as suffering from poisoning by use of herbicides and frequent burning of vegetation. In São Paulo, the species has been seen only on the border with Mato Grosso do Sul state, and at Itirapina Ecological Station (Motta-Júnior et al. 2008MOTTA-JÚNIOR, J.C., GRANZINOLLI, M.A.M. & DEVELEY, P.F. 2008. Aves da Estação Ecológica de Itirapina, estado de São Paulo, Brasil. Biota Neotrop. 8(3):207-227 http://www.biotaneotropica.org.br/v8n3/en/abstract?inventory+bn00308032008 (last access on 09/03/2013). doi: 10.1590/S1676-06032008000200010
http://www.biotaneotropica.org.br/v8n3/e...
). At Jataí Ecological Station, it was already common in the 1960s, but it is now disappeared (Dias 2000DIAS, M.M. 2000. Avifauna das Estações Ecológicas do Jataí e Experimental de Luiz Antônio, São Paulo, Brasil. In: Estudos integrados em ecossistemas - Estação Ecológica de Jataí V. 1 (J.E. Santos & J.S.R. Pires orgs). Rima Editora, São Carlos. p.285-301.). In our study, we recorded Greater Rhea solely by tracks in October 21, 2009 (22°49’30”S, 49°14’51”W) and a photograph taken by camera trap, installed by mastozoologists on 09/01/2008. Nowadays, the local species occurrence has been reported only to a disturbed Cerrado area at Thermas de Santa Bárbara, a settlement surrounding the reserve, what warrant additional surveys covering both their inner and outer areas.

Rufous-faced Crake Laterallus xenopterus (critically endangered, SP; vulnerable, Red list)

Some duets of this secretive crake were heard in contact areas between wet grasslands and riparian vegetation. A recording was obtained on October 23, 2009 at coordinates 22°48’54”S and 49°10’41”W. This is a poorly known species deemed to be threatened both in the state and in international lists. Its occurrence in São Paulo until then was based on a single specimen, found dead on a railway line in the town of Itirapina (Willis 2004WILLIS, E.O. 2004. Birds of a habitat spectrum in the Itirapina savanna, São Paulo, Brazil (1982-2003). Braz. J Biol. 64(4):901-910., Vasconcelos et al. 2006VASCONCELOS, M.F., D'ANGELO NETO, S, KIRWAN, G.M, BORNSCHEIN, M.R, DINIZ, M.G & SILVA, J.F. 2006. Important ornithological records from Minas Gerais state, Brazil. Bull. B. O. C. 126(3):212-238.). Despite lacking records, it can be more widespread than we think. Its trilling call’s similarity with congeners and sympatric (e.g. Rufous-sided Crake L. melanophaius) along with limited access to their occurrence areas by researchers possibly make it difficult to detect. The species is considered threatened mainly due to habitat destruction, addressed by drainage of wetlands and adjacent afforestation with Eucaliptus and Pinus plantations (del Hoyo et al. 1996).

Ocellated Crake Micropygia schomburgkii (critically endangered, SP)

Heard in patches of campo cerrado, sometimes over wet grasslands. This rail responds well to playback techniques, even at a distance. We noticed that this species approaches when closer to the sound source, walking carefully and silently. Nonetheless, this behavior probably does not prevent its detection, as the species has been recorded increasingly in other parts of Brazil by ornithologists who have knowledge of its vocalization (Vasconcelos et al. 2006VASCONCELOS, M.F., D'ANGELO NETO, S, KIRWAN, G.M, BORNSCHEIN, M.R, DINIZ, M.G & SILVA, J.F. 2006. Important ornithological records from Minas Gerais state, Brazil. Bull. B. O. C. 126(3):212-238., Lopes et al. 2009LOPES, L.E., MALACCO, G.B., ALTEFF, E.F., VASCONCELOS, M.F., HOFFMANN, D. & SILVEIRA, L.F. 2009. Range extensions and conservation of some threatened or little known Brazilian grassland birds. Bird Conserv. Intern. 20:84-94. doi: 10.1017/S0959270909990190
https://doi.org/10.1017/S095927090999019...
). In São Paulo, the species is threatened by conversion of grasslands to monoculture plantations, being detected only once in a narrow range of Cerrado at Lençóis Paulista (Marcondes & del Rio 2012).

Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus (endangered, SP)

Species detected only once on March 27, 2012 perched in a pine tree inside a patch of wet grassland (22°48’42”S, 49°10’60”W), and singing series of 13-16 notes. This species inhabits marsh-like vegetation on the riverbanks and in flooded areas, and is adversely threatened by human presence (Silveira et al. 2009SILVEIRA, L.F., BENEDICTO, G.A., SCHUNCK, F. & SUGIEDA, A.M. 2009. Aves. In: Fauna ameaçada de extinção no Estado de São Paulo: Vertebrados. (P.M. Bressan, M.C. Kierulff & A.M. Sugieda orgs). SMA, São Paulo. p. 87-282.).

Collared Crescentchest Melanopareia torquata (endangered, SP)

The only species of this genus in Brazil, occurring in campos cerrados and cerrado sensu stricto at altitudes up to 1000m. At Santa Bárbara Ecological Station, the species is observed foraging for insects on the ground by gleaning techniques. Originally classified as part of the family Furnariidae, M. torquata has been included among Formicariidae, and after among Rhinocryptidae, due to its morphological similarity with tapaculos. Only after recent molecular studies a new family was created for Melanopareia, known as Melanopareiidae, within which exclusively groups species of the genus (Ericson et al. 2010ERICSON, P.G.P., OLSON, S.L., IRESTEDT, M., ALVARENGA, H. & FJELDSA, J. 2010. Circumscription of a monophyletic family for the tapaculos (Aves: Rhinocryptidae): Psiloramphus in and Melanopareia out. J. Ornithol. 151:337-345. doi: 10.1007/s10336-009-0460-9
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10336-009-0460-...
). In addition to its typical, monotonous call, the species is notable for a warming call similar to the vocalization of M. schomburgkii. In São Paulo, this species was once abundant in the 90s (Motta-Júnior 1990MOTTA-JÚNIOR, J.C. 1990. Estrutura trófica e composição das avifaunas de três habitats na região Central do Estado de São Paulo. Ararajuba 1:65-71.), and today it has declined due to loss of natural open savannas and widespread invasive grasses. In this context, it is imperative to understand the role of Urochloa spp. on Collared Crescentchest ecology. Although it has been implied that the species does not tolerate habitat changes promoted by exotic plants (Kanegae et al. 2012bKANEGAE, M.F., LEVY, G. & FREITAS, R.S. 2012b. Habitat use by Collared Crescentchest (Melanopareia torquata) in a Cerrado in southeastern Brazil: implications for management. Braz. J Biol. 72(4):865-871. doi: 10.1590/S1519-69842012000500013
https://doi.org/10.1590/S1519-6984201200...
), we have observed it foraging in grounds intensely invaded by this African grass.

Sharp-tailed Tyrant Culicivora caudacuta (critically endangered, SP; vulnerable, BR, Red list)

Species present in the few dry natural grasslands and more open moist fields with tall grasses that remain in the ecological station. Known for nesting in bushes of ironweed Vernonia (Asteraceae; del Hoyo et al. 2004del HOYO, J, ELLIOTT, A, CHRISTIE, D. 2004. The Handbook of the Birds of the World. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.), C. caudacuta can rely on seven herbaceous species of this genus in campos cerrados of Santa Bárbara (São Paulo 2011SÃO PAULO. 2011. Estação Ecológica de Santa Bárbara - plano de manejo. Available from URL: http://www.iflorestal.sp.gov.br/Plano_de_manejo/eec_santa_barbara/Plano_de_Manejo_EEc_Santa_Barbara.pdf (last access on 04/29/2013).
http://www.iflorestal.sp.gov.br/Plano_de...
). Due to current loss of habitat outside nature reserves in southeastern Brazil, it has a strong tendency to remain confined in the few protected dry grasslands such as Santa Bárbara Ec. St., free of charge by agricultural conversion.

Cock-tailed Tyrant Alectrurus tricolor (critically endangered, SP; vulnerable, BR, Red list)

This species currently shows irregular distribution, largely due to the rarity of undisturbed open-habitats, especially tall grasses. In the Cerrado, these environments have been quickly converted in agricultural areas. In São Paulo, this species has not been detected in other places, except at Itirapina Ecological Station (Motta-Júnior et al. 2008MOTTA-JÚNIOR, J.C., GRANZINOLLI, M.A.M. & DEVELEY, P.F. 2008. Aves da Estação Ecológica de Itirapina, estado de São Paulo, Brasil. Biota Neotrop. 8(3):207-227 http://www.biotaneotropica.org.br/v8n3/en/abstract?inventory+bn00308032008 (last access on 09/03/2013). doi: 10.1590/S1676-06032008000200010
http://www.biotaneotropica.org.br/v8n3/e...
). When breeding, males display nuptial conspicuous behaviors such as flights up to 4 m in height followed by freefalls to the ground, and vertical movements of the long tail. This behavior was observed near to a female on October 21, 2008 (22°47’08”S, 49°14’24”W) at a site recovering from burning.

Sedge Wren Cistothorus platensis (critically endangered, SP)

Open-habitat species with a large vocal repertoire, usually forages low down in vegetation looking for insects. Inhabitant of campos, seasonally wet grasslands and freshwater marshes, it has declined due to habitat loss from changes in land use, and converting natural grasslands to forestry and pastures. In Santa Bárbara, this bird was once relative abundant in the 70s and 80s with a record of 27 individuals in 17 transect hours (Willis & Oniki 1981WILLIS, E.O. & ONIKI, Y. 1981. Levantamento preliminar de aves em treze áreas do Estado de São Paulo. Rev. Brasil. Biol. 41(1):121-135.). It has not been recorded there recently and even using sound emissions by playback techniques, intensive searches in habitats with potential occurrences were not successful in finding the species, suggesting a possible local extinction (A.S. Lucindo & M.M. Dias, unpublished data). It is necessary a detailed search for isolated population of the species at surroundings, in order to develop management actions.

Ochre-breasted Pipit Anthus nattereri (critically endangered, SP; vulnerable, BR, Red list)

Grassland species are known for preferring burnt areas (not over-frequent burnings) and lightly grazed grasslands (Parker III & Willis 1997PARKER III, T.A & WILLIS, E.O. 1997. Notes on three tiny grassland flycatchers, with comments on the disappearance of South American fire-diversified savannas. Ornithol Monogr. 48:549-555. doi: 10.2307/40157552
https://doi.org/10.2307/40157552...
). Although recorded in Itirapina in the past, the species has not been sighted since 2000, even during breeding season (Willis 2004WILLIS, E.O. 2004. Birds of a habitat spectrum in the Itirapina savanna, São Paulo, Brazil (1982-2003). Braz. J Biol. 64(4):901-910., Motta-Júnior et al. 2008MOTTA-JÚNIOR, J.C., GRANZINOLLI, M.A.M. & DEVELEY, P.F. 2008. Aves da Estação Ecológica de Itirapina, estado de São Paulo, Brasil. Biota Neotrop. 8(3):207-227 http://www.biotaneotropica.org.br/v8n3/en/abstract?inventory+bn00308032008 (last access on 09/03/2013). doi: 10.1590/S1676-06032008000200010
http://www.biotaneotropica.org.br/v8n3/e...
), suggesting a possible local extinction. In Santa Bárbara, the species has not been found since Willis & Oniki’s studies, even using playback sounds from elsewhere (A.S. Lucindo & M.M. Dias, unpublished data). It makes even more serious the situation of the species on site. As it is a restricted species regarding the environment occupied, it may have disappeared due to conversion of grasslands into Pinus plantations and vegetation densification (Silveira et al. 2009SILVEIRA, L.F., BENEDICTO, G.A., SCHUNCK, F. & SUGIEDA, A.M. 2009. Aves. In: Fauna ameaçada de extinção no Estado de São Paulo: Vertebrados. (P.M. Bressan, M.C. Kierulff & A.M. Sugieda orgs). SMA, São Paulo. p. 87-282.). Further studies are needed to clarify its actual condition locally.

White-rumped Tanager Cypsnagra hirundinacea (endangered, SP)

Although considered rare in São Paulo, the species is frequently observed in campos cerrados in the ecological station, forming monospecific flocks from two to three individuals. It is commonly seen foraging for insects in the tree and bush stratum above 1.5m. It is highly territorial, since actively responds to audio playback, vocalizing and flying over the sound source in searching for the supposed intruder. In São Paulo, it is threatened due to disturbance and destruction of their habitats (Silveira et al. 2009SILVEIRA, L.F., BENEDICTO, G.A., SCHUNCK, F. & SUGIEDA, A.M. 2009. Aves. In: Fauna ameaçada de extinção no Estado de São Paulo: Vertebrados. (P.M. Bressan, M.C. Kierulff & A.M. Sugieda orgs). SMA, São Paulo. p. 87-282.).

White-banded Tanager Neothraupis fasciata (endangered, SP)

Species usually observed in groups of two or more individuals in the campo cerrado and cerrado sensu stricto, sometimes feeding on the ground. We found this species joining mixed flocks with S. atricollis. Their diet includes insects, seeds and fruits. In the ecological station, the bird actively feeds on Aegiphila lhotskiana (Lamiaceae) when bearing fruiting. The main threat to its existence is the conversion of natural areas into pasture and farmland (Silveira et al. 2009SILVEIRA, L.F., BENEDICTO, G.A., SCHUNCK, F. & SUGIEDA, A.M. 2009. Aves. In: Fauna ameaçada de extinção no Estado de São Paulo: Vertebrados. (P.M. Bressan, M.C. Kierulff & A.M. Sugieda orgs). SMA, São Paulo. p. 87-282.).

Plumbeous Seedeater Sporophila plumbea (endangered, SP)

Coveted for cagebird trade, this short-distance migrant species also suffers from habitat loss, which must be addressed through the conservation of natural grasslands. In Jataí, it was frequently seen in the 60s, but has not been observed recently (Dias 2000DIAS, M.M. 2000. Avifauna das Estações Ecológicas do Jataí e Experimental de Luiz Antônio, São Paulo, Brasil. In: Estudos integrados em ecossistemas - Estação Ecológica de Jataí V. 1 (J.E. Santos & J.S.R. Pires orgs). Rima Editora, São Carlos. p.285-301.). In Cerrado Pé-de-Gigante, it was usually observed in the 90s (Develey et al. 2005DEVELEY, P.F., CAVANA, D.D. & PIVELLO, V.R. 2005. Caracterização de grupos biológicos do cerrado Pé-do-Gigante - Aves. In: O cerrado Pé-do-Gigante: ecologia e conservação (V.R. Pivello & E.M. Varanda orgs). SMA, São Paulo. p.121-134.). For now, Santa Bárbara along with Itirapina emerge as priority conservation areas for Sporophila seedeaters in general, since they still rely on Cerrado formations and specific grassland environments. However, both invasive grasses and vegetation densification due to fire protection have leaded to a gradual modification of its preferential habitat.

Pearly-bellied Seedeater Sporophila pileata (vulnerable, SP)

Originally considered as a subspecies of S. bouvreuil (Copper Seedeater), this taxon was recently recognized as a full species (Machado & Silveira 2010MACHADO, E., SILVEIRA, L.F. 2010. Geographical and seasonal distributions of the seedeaters Sporophila bouvreuil and Sporophila pileata (Aves: Emberizidae). Pap. Avulsos Zool. 50(32):517-533.). Some couples have been spotted in campo cerrado when foranging in mixed flocks with S. plumbea, which can indicate the use of the region as a stopover on their migratory routes.

Black-masked Finch Coryphaspiza melanotis (critically endangered, SP; vulnerable, BR, Red list)

Restricted bird to grassland environments, it usually lives on the ground, rising in grasses with emerging stalk during its breeding season. The Black-masked Finch has high research and conservation priority, because it is a rare and declining species (Stotz et al. 1996STOTZ, D.F., FITZPATRICK, J.W., PARKER III, T.A & MOSKOVITS, D.K. 1996. Neotropical Birds: ecology and conservation. University of Chicago Press, Chicago., Silveira & Straube 2008SILVEIRA, L.F. & STRAUBE, F.C. 2008. Aves ameaçadas de Extinção no Brasil. In: Livro Vermelho da Fauna Brasileira Ameaçada de Extinção. (A.B.M. Machado, G.M. Drummond & A.P. Paglia orgs). Fundação Biodiversitas, Belo Horizonte; Ministério do Meio Ambiente, Brasília, v. 2, p. 378-666.). Recently, some efforts to find it using playbacks were not successful at Santa Bárbara grasslands, suggesting a possible local extinction (A.S. Lucindo & M.M. Dias, unpublished data). However, it is worth considering that the species was detected by Motta-Júnior et al. (2008)MOTTA-JÚNIOR, J.C., GRANZINOLLI, M.A.M. & DEVELEY, P.F. 2008. Aves da Estação Ecológica de Itirapina, estado de São Paulo, Brasil. Biota Neotrop. 8(3):207-227 http://www.biotaneotropica.org.br/v8n3/en/abstract?inventory+bn00308032008 (last access on 09/03/2013). doi: 10.1590/S1676-06032008000200010
http://www.biotaneotropica.org.br/v8n3/e...
, and a few years thereafter it was thought to be extinct in Itirapina (Willis 2004WILLIS, E.O. 2004. Birds of a habitat spectrum in the Itirapina savanna, São Paulo, Brazil (1982-2003). Braz. J Biol. 64(4):901-910.). Therefore, new searches covering the surroundings are needed to find some isolated population, and develop management actions.

2. Concluding remarks

To recognize the species at Santa Bárbara Ecological Station is the first step towards preparing an effective strategy to conserve the local avifauna. Key approaches to improve knowledge of this bird assemblage include analyses of habitat use via BARCI designs (Before-After Reference Control-Impact), and population size estimates for species of conservation concern (e.g. Kanegae 2011KANEGAE, M.F. 2011. Population size of threatened and endemic birds of the Cerrado in Estação Ecológica de Itirapina, a fragmented area in the State of São Paulo, Brazil. Bird Conserv. Intern. 21(1):1-11. doi: 10.1017/S0959270910000079
https://doi.org/10.1017/S095927091000007...
, Kanegae et al. 2012aKANEGAE, M.F., LEVY, G. & FREITAS, R.S. 2012a. Habitat use by Sharp-tailed Tyrant (Culicivora caudacuta), and Cock-tailed Tyrant (Alectrurus tricolor) in the Cerrado of Southeastern Brazil. Rev. Brasil. Ornitol. 20(1):52-58., 2012bKANEGAE, M.F., LEVY, G. & FREITAS, R.S. 2012b. Habitat use by Collared Crescentchest (Melanopareia torquata) in a Cerrado in southeastern Brazil: implications for management. Braz. J Biol. 72(4):865-871. doi: 10.1590/S1519-69842012000500013
https://doi.org/10.1590/S1519-6984201200...
). Conservation of the grassland and savanna biota at Santa Bárbara Ecological Station in the medium and long terms is a challenge that must be faced with management grounded on scientific research. Knowledge of birds at this reserve will allow us to use local avifauna as an indicator of the effectiveness of actions deployed.

Acknowledgments

The authors thank the Instituto Florestal do Estado de São Paulo and its staff for fieldwork support at Santa Bárbara Ecological Station; Marcio Port Carvalho, for kindly providing the photograph of the Greater Rhea; and the anonymous reviewers, for criticism and suggestions. A.S. Lucindo is a PhD candidate, and receives a doctoral scholarship from CAPES.

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Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    Dec 2015

History

  • Received
    16 Oct 2014
  • Reviewed
    16 Apr 2015
  • Accepted
    15 May 2015
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