4. Ecological Functions of Birds in the Tropics

  1. Navjot S. Sodhi1,
  2. Çağan H. Şekercioğlu2,
  3. Jos Barlow3 and
  4. Scott K. Robinson4

Published Online: 23 MAR 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9781444342611.ch4

Conservation of Tropical Birds

Conservation of Tropical Birds

How to Cite

Sodhi, N. S., Şekercioğlu, Ç. H., Barlow, J. and Robinson, S. K. (2011) Ecological Functions of Birds in the Tropics, in Conservation of Tropical Birds, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444342611.ch4

Author Information

  1. 1

    National University of Singapore

  2. 2

    Stanford University, USA

  3. 3

    Lancaster University, UK

  4. 4

    University of Florida, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 23 MAR 2011
  2. Published Print: 8 APR 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444334821

Online ISBN: 9781444342611



  • ecological functions of birds - in the tropics;
  • birds' ecological functions, a wide spectrum - creating soil to shaping primate behavior, and key ecological roles;
  • birds as mobile links - from an ecosystem functional perspective, birds as mobile links;
  • pollinating nectarivores, and seed-dispersing frugivores - genetic linkers carrying genetic material, individual plant to another plant;
  • scavenging birds, as vultures - crucial process linkers hastening decomposition of potentially disease carrying carcasses;
  • four main types of mobile links - and corresponding avian ecosystem services;
  • seed dispersers to plant survival - reducing density-dependent mortality of seeds and seedlings;
  • mistletoes, good example of a keystone taxon - dependent on, and likely diversified by avian seed dispersers;
  • counterintuitive effects - bird–insect interactions, possibility of increase in insect populations;
  • avian control of insect herbivores, and reductions - in plant damage, important economic value


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Birds as mobile links

  • Seed dispersal

  • Pollination

  • Predation and pest control – insectivores

  • Predation and pest control – raptors

  • Scavenging

  • Nutrient deposition

  • Ecosystem engineers and other ecological actors

  • Birds and humanity