• wetlands;
  • species richness;
  • conservation evaluation;
  • birds;
  • urban development;
  • pollution


  1. The Sabana de Bogotá highland plateau is located in the eastern Andes wetland complex of Colombia, a biogeographically important and highly degraded area where little is known about the general habitat availability and requirements for wildlife based on comparative studies.
  2. This study sought to identify the environmental factors that best explained the richness and composition of bird communities in the area's wetlands.
  3. GIS and remote images were used to measure landscape and local habitat variables along with the presence of birds in 19 varied wetlands of the Sabana.
  4. A high variation in wetland characteristics, related to their urban or rural status, was found. Aquatic bird richness was associated with wetland area; guilds such as waders that probe in mud, walkers on aquatic vegetation, and shoreline walkers tended to be richer in large wetlands with extensive emergent vegetation cover. Other guilds (waders that wait to stalk, flight feeders and surface swimmers) were more related to open water areas.
  5. It is concluded that the remaining large wetlands should have a high priority for conservation but the set of small natural and artificial wetlands are also important in the maintenance of high habitat heterogeneity, bird populations and regional diversity. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.