Bird tolerance to humans in open tropical ecosystems

Peter Mikula, Oldřich Tomášek, Dušan Romportl, Timothy K. Aikins, Jorge E. Avendaño, Bukola D.A. Braimoh-Azaki, Adams Chaskda, Will Cresswell, Susan J. Cunningham, Svein Dale, Gabriela R. Favoretto, Kelvin S. Floyd, Hayley Glover, Tomáš Grim, Dominic A.W. Henry, Tomas Holmern, Martin Hromada, Soladoye B. Iwajomo, Amanda Lilleyman, Flora J. MagigeRowan O. Martin, Marina F. de A Maximiano, Eric D. Nana, Emmanuel Ncube, Henry Ndaimani, Emma Nelson, Johann H. van Niekerk, Carina Pienaar, Augusto J. Piratelli, Penny Pistorius, Anna Radkovic, Chevonne Reynolds, Eivin Røskaft, Griffin K. Shanungu, Paulo R. Siqueira, Tawanda Tarakini, Nattaly Tejeiro-Mahecha, Michelle L. Thompson, Wanyoike Wamiti, Mark Wilson, Donovan R.C. Tye, Nicholas D. Tye, Aki Vehtari, Piotr Tryjanowski, Michael A. Weston, Daniel T. Blumstein, Tomáš Albrecht

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Animal tolerance towards humans can be a key factor facilitating wildlife-human coexistence, yet traits predicting its direction and magnitude across tropical animals are poorly known. Using 10,249 observations for 842 bird species inhabiting open tropical ecosystems in Africa, South America, and Australia, we find that avian tolerance towards humans was lower (i.e., escape distance was longer) in rural rather than urban populations and in populations exposed to lower human disturbance (measured as human footprint index). In addition, larger species and species with larger clutches and enhanced flight ability are less tolerant to human approaches and escape distances increase when birds were approached during the wet season compared to the dry season and from longer starting distances. Identification of key factors affecting animal tolerance towards humans across large spatial and taxonomic scales may help us to better understand and predict the patterns of species distributions in the Anthropocene.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2146
Pages (from-to)2146
Number of pages1
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


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