Biogeographical patterns of endemic terrestrial Afrotropical birds

De Klerk, Helen Margaret ; Crowe, T. M. ; Fjeldsa, J. ; Burgess, N. D. (2002)

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Biogeographical zones are described for terrestrial bird species endemic to the Afrotropics using up-to-date distributional data and multivariate statistical techniques. This provides an objective basis for a hierarchy of subregions, provinces and districts, based on a set of rules. Results are compared to previous studies at continental and regional scales. Biogeographical zones for passerines and non-passerines are compared and found to be similar. Peaks of species richness and narrow endemism are described for the six major subdivisions (subregions) identified by the cluster analysis. Coincidence of peaks of species richness and narrow endemism is found to be low, such that areas selected to represent high species richness tallies will often fail to represent narrow endemics. Strong regionalization of Afrotropical birds indicates the need to use a biogeographical framework in conservation priority setting exercises to ensure that unique, but species-poor, avifaunas are not neglected.

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