Stay or leave? Avian behavioral responses to urbanization in Latin America

César González-Lagos, Javier Quesada

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Behavioral adjustments are at the forefront of the mechanisms that birds employ to deal with environmental changes. We here review the literature focused on how behavior influences bird responses when faced with the challenges of urbanization in Latin America. Most of reviewed studies assessed for patterns of responses to urbanization with incipient information regarding the behavioral adjustments, as well as the filtering of specific behavioral phenotypes. A common and unsurprising tendency was that several avian species across Latin America are using resources from urban vegetation patches. The few experimental studies performed in urban Latin America focus on the role of personality in adjustments of foraging behavior, as well as the response to noise pollution. Nevertheless, we found no study to directly assess whether or not behavioral adjustments are related to fitness. Even so, studies assessing for the role of behavioral responses to urbanization that explicitly consider their effect on population dynamics are lacking worldwide, despite their importance for fully understanding the differential fate of species having to live in an increasingly built-up planet. Our review allowed us to identify important knowledge gaps of topics related to avian behavioral responses to urbanization, of which the following head the list: (i) behavioral adjustments in both urban greenspaces and highly developed areas; (ii) adaptiveness of avian behavioral adjustments through population dynamics; (iii) metapopulations as one of the process underlying the viability of avian bird populations; and (iv) the role of behavioral changes on evolutionary process in urban areas.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAvian Ecology in Latin American Cityscapes
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9783319634753
ISBN (Print)9783319634739
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Bird behavior
  • Personality
  • Plasticity
  • Risk-taking
  • Urban ecology


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