Notulae Ornitologicae Columbianae 2

Post date: Aug 18, 2015 6:06:32 PM

Abstract — Project BioMap, a tri–national initiative between British, Colombian and United States of America institutions, began in late 2001. The project aim was to digitise and verify all Colombian bird specimens deposited in natural history museums around the world. A total of 217 659 Colombian bird specimens in 87 museums were databased and georeferenced (whenever possible) and made available online ( The most important collectors were M. A. Carriker Jr. and K. Von Sneidern, with about 28 000 specimens each. The most active periods of collection were from 1910–1920 and 1940–1980, the former period marked by expeditions led by F. M. Chapman for the American Museum of Natural History and the latter by collecting efforts led by national researchers for Colombian museums. Preliminary analyses of the information showed that about 55% of Colombian specimens are held in the United States, the great majority in just five museums, 33% in Colombia and only 12% in European museums. A total of 1815 species are represented in collections, 95% of those recorded in the country. Additionally, 9705 and 2855 specimens belong respectively to 180 range–restricted and 102 globally threatened bird species (IUCN categories: CR, EN and VU). For approximately 80% of collecting localities less than 50 specimens have been taken, pointing to a historically poor sampling rate in studies of particular localities. Analysis of density of collections in grids showed that at ≈15 km grain about 80% of the country has had no collecting activity and just 1% of the country has experienced collection of more than 500 specimens, while at ≈60 km grain only 11% of the country had collections represented by more than 1000 specimens. Counter–intuitively, two of the four most intensively collected sites (>3000 specimens) in Colombia have subsequently yielded new species for science that had evaded collection previously. We estimate that possibly more than 100 new bird taxa for science are pending discovery or description in Colombia. Considering the threats to range–restricted species, there is an urgent need for continuing ethical and targeted field inventories, including collecting, across Colombia. It is also important to maintain, strengthen and co–ordinate the activities of Colombian bird collections. Establishment of the Darwin–Hernandez database by Project BioMap has created a synthesis of existing specimen–based information on Colombia’s avifauna, which is available online to all interested parties to prioritise future research and conservation actions.

Keywords — BioMap; international alliance; biodiversity; birds; collections; Colombia

Notulae Ornitologicae Columbianae 2 – PDF

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