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Sensitivity of macroecological patterns of South American parrots to differences in data sources


*Correspondence: Departamento de Biologià Geral, ICB, Universidade Federal de Goiás, Goiânia, GO 74001-970, Brazil. E-mail:


A criticism of macroecological studies has been their extensive use of secondary data sources. In this note we evaluate how different data sources affect macroecological patterns for the parrots of South America. We mapped extents of parrot occurrence based on four sources of range maps. We compared basic statistics for geographical range size distribution (mean, variance and skew) and calculated correlations between geographical range size estimates and grid cell species richness estimates. Finally, results from multiple regression analyses of species richness against six environmental variables were also compared. We found that patterns were very robust to the data source, with only relatively slight quantitative differences. Our results reinforce the notion that patterns emerging from macroecological analyses are robust to variations in data sources and cannot be merely artefacts resulting from low data quality, notably poorly defined mapping and conflicting taxonomy.