Patterns in the global diversity of mixed-species bird flocks in relation to environmental factors.

Jiahao Wu, Eben Goodale, Weiye Li, Fasheng Zou, Qiang Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Preserving biodiversity requires an understanding of how natural environments and anthropogenic factors shape the global distribution of biological diversity. Moving beyond a focus on endangered species, conservation needs to also preserve the typical interactions among species that structure communities, such as those found in mixed-species bird flocks (MSBFs). The objective of this study is to quantify the α and β diversity of MSBFs on a global scale and explore the influence of environmental factors. Based on data compiled from 172 global publications encompassing 2095 MSBF participating bird species, we investigated the distribution patterns and influencing factors of MSBFs at different latitudes globally. The findings revealed that the species diversity of MSBFs is higher at lower latitudes. In terms of β diversity, MSBFs exhibit high-turnover at mid to low latitudes and nested patterns at higher latitudes. Environmental factors positively influencing α and β species diversity of MSBFs included temperature and solar radiation, while wind speed and human disturbance negatively affected diversity. Based on the wide distribution and conservation significance of MSBFs, we provide quantifiable data on their global diversity patterns and suggest that future animal conservation management strategies should prioritize a community-based approach focused on interspecific interactions.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalBiological Diversity
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Jun 2024


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