impact of deforestation on bird communication


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Essay on the impact of deforestation on bird communication.

Birds are animals with feathers. About 9700 kind of bird species known; they live in all parts of the world from polar regions to the tropics. They occupy forests, woodlands, grasslands and deserts. Others live in and near wetlands. Each species of birds in woodlands, grasslands or natural arena depend on other living things in the environment for food. In woodlands birds get their food mainly from plants others chiefly insects. Ranges of birds are further limited by the kind of food and nesting places that are available. Thus most birds live only in a particular region of the world but also in a particular type of environment or habitat within a region. Birds in North America chiefly live in forest with needle like trees others in forests with broad leaf trees whilst others prefer open woodlands to dense forests. Birds live at a particular level of a forest or woodland. Birds in central America and south America lies in the tropics. The tropics have more species of birds than does any other area of the same size in the world. Most birds of this region live in tropical rainforests others in grasslands near bodies of water, deserts and dry forests.

Preliminary analysis has showed that each species of birds can be placed into one of the three categories (1)Forest species, (2) edge species, (3) Aerial species. Forest species can be divided into five groups based on strata in which they are found (1) Canopy species, (2) Midstory species,(3) Understory,(4) Forest floor species and trunk species and five groups based on predominant food items in their diet (1) Fruit and grain eaters, (2) fruits and insects eaters, (3) insectivores, (4) nectarivores and carnivores and carrion eaters.

Nearly everything a bird does is related to their survival, either as an individual or as a species. To survive as an individual, birds must obtain enough food and water and be able to defend themselves against predators. To survive as a species each generation of birds must reproduce and raise off springs.

As stated before forests are the main place of food and shelther for most birds and for birds that live in dense forest areas they would have to be a means of communication in order for birds to know where one another are, for baby birds to call out to their parents to indicate that they are hungry amongst other things and in order for all these things to be done birds need to communicate with each others. Birds communicate with each other through a variety of ways. Nearly all birds have a voice and would use it to call or sing. A call usually consists of a single sound such as a squawk or a peep whilst a song consists of a series of notes that follow a fairly definite pattern. Birds use their calls mainly as signals to other birds. Baby birds call in one way when they are hungry and another when they are scared or frightened. Adult birds use certain calls to signal their mates and other calls to signal the entire community . Community calls may warn of approaching danger. Such calls often alert birds of more than one species. Some birds are talented mimics. They imitate not only calls and songs but also sounds inn the environment.

Other birds that live in open areas communicate with one another by various kinds of visual displays basically to attract mates. Like sound communication sight communication is used in courtship, defending a territory and signalling danger.

Birds have territories which may be small or large. Some male birds claim only the area close to their nest, others claim large feeding areas surrounding their nests. After a male selects his territory , he claims it by singing his advertising song.

The sounds birds make can either be short simple call notes or long complex songs. Birds like the wood pecker and the American wood chuck produce songs by se of substrate or special feathers.

Songs are made primarily under the influence of sex hormones and is generally important in reproduction which is done basically for defending a territory and attracting a mate. Calls are more generally concerned with the coordination of the behaviour of family or the flock, it is not sexual but it is important in the maintenance activities such as foraging, flocking and responding to threats of predation. Bird calls have a variety of functions it serves in contacting, locating and identifying individuals. Nocturnal flight calls help bird form and maintain in-flight associations and also provide location information that helps flying birds avoid collision. Birds also produce calls of distress which are loud harsh calls given by birds that are captured by predators or handheld by humans, it serves as a call for startling the predator or distracting the predator through attraction of other predators. Calls are also used for feeding to alert other species where good food is, for aggression, begging and copulation.

Bird songs are used as a form of identification, songs have characteristic notes that permit other birds to identify the species, sex and for identity of the singer. Characteristic is important in permitting specific sexual and individual recognition which vary among species. Some songs may be more complex than others as they are used for distraction of potential predators, coordination of activities, to stimulate females and also as a form of guarding. Some females sing songs for territorial defense, pair bonding and reproduction purposes.

Birds that use other means of communication such as visual displays of their tail feathers, bobbing of the head etc do this as a means of attracting mates and in some cases marking their territory, some of them even dance.

Deforestation According to the Webster's new world dictionary is the clearing of forest areas. All around the world deforestation impacted negatively on animal species. It has led to the massive extinction of endangered species of birds, it has also led to migration and starvation of other species of birds. Migration of a species of birds to another area due to deforestation can lead to a lot of complications as stated before birds mark their territory and this could eventually lead to competition between species for numerous resources. Deforestation would improve the chances of being seen by predators hence no need to communicate as they are all in the open which would led to them being easy targets.


Raven, Johnson. Biology, sixth Edition, (2002). McGraw publishing house

N.A Campbell, J.R (1999) Biology, Benjamin Cummings

Mills E.H- Bird Communication.30-11-09 people. Eku.edy/nt (song) RITC HIS. bird communication

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