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قراءة كتاب Birds from Coahuila, Mexico

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Birds from Coahuila, Mexico

Birds from Coahuila, Mexico

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 3

Madre Oriental Biotic Province, in the southeastern part of the State. Merriam (1898) noted that definable portions of the Lower Sonoran Life-zone, the Upper Sonoran Life-zone, the Transition Life-zone, and the Canadian Life-zone can be distinguished in Coahuila. In my study of the distribution of the avifauna of Coahuila, I found that the three biotic provinces listed by Goldman and Moore (op. cit.) as major headings and Merriam's life-zones as supplements are the most satisfactory divisions.

The Tamaulipas Biotic Province.—This province consists of lowland plains and a few isolated ranges of low mountains. The average rainfall is 23 inches (Baker, 1956:130), considerably more than the 10 inches falling in the western part of the State. In the northeastern section of the State, the moderate amount of rain, mesic vegetation, and close proximity to the eastern migration pathway importantly influence the types of birds found.

In Coahuila, the Coastal Plain and the Río Grande Plain lie in the path of the northernmost trade winds; they account for the more humid eastern slopes of the mountains of the northeastern part of the State (Muller, 1947:38). Nevertheless, the northeastern section of the State is semi-arid and can be placed in the Lower Sonoran Life-zone. The vegetation consists mainly of thorny shrubs and small trees with a liberal admixture of yuccas, agaves, and cacti, and closely resembles that of southern Texas, northern Nuevo León, and northern Tamaulipas (Goldman and Moore, 1945:354).

Migrant birds from the eastern flyway and less commonly migrants from western North America pass through northeastern Coahuila. The following breeding birds seem to be associated with this province: Harris' Hawk, Bobwhite (C. v. texanus), Scaled Quail (C. s. castanogastris), Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Groove-billed Ani, Green Kingfisher, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker (D. v. intermedius), Ladder-backed Woodpecker (D. s. symplectus), Vermilion Flycatcher (P. r. mexicanus), Cave Swallow, Gray-breasted Martin, Black-crested Titmouse (P. a. atricristatus), Carolina Wren, Long-billed Thrasher, Curve-billed Thrasher (T. c. oberholseri), Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (P. c. caerulea), Hutton's Vireo (V. h. carolinae), Bell's Vireo (V. b. medius), Yellow-throated Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Summer Tanager (P. r. rubra), Olive Sparrow, Cassin's Sparrow, and Black-throated Sparrow (A. b. bilineata).

The Sierra Madre Oriental Biotic Province.—Southeastern Coahuila is in this province that includes mountains in southern Nuevo León, southwestern Tamaulipas, and eastern San Luis Potosí. Areas classifiable as Canadian, Transition, Upper Sonoran, and Lower Sonoran in life-zone are found in this province. This region of Coahuila receives the highest rainfall; this is evidenced by the luxuriant growth of boreal plants living in the higher places there (Baker, 1956:131). Spruce, pine, and aspen occur at higher elevations and oaks, thorny shrubs, and grasslands are present lower down.

Birds of central or southern México reach the southern part of Coahuila; the Thick-billed Parrot, Hooded Yellowthroat, and Rufous-capped Atlapetes are examples. A boreal forest on the higher slopes of the mountains of southeastern Coahuila is suitable for certain northern birds such as Goshawks, Pine Siskins, and Brown Creepers. Some species of birds ordinarily associated with western North America are present in Coahuila only in its southeastern part; striking examples of disjunction in range thus occur. Probably sometime in the past these birds were distributed throughout most of Coahuila. When this area became arid, these species disappeared from all of Coahuila except from the high mountains in the southeastern part. For example, Steller's Jay and the Scrub Jay are absent in the Sierra del Carmen of northwestern Coahuila but do occur in southeastern Coahuila.

Migrants of the eastern flyway as well as migrants associated with western North America pass through this section of Coahuila. The following breeding birds are associated with this province: Goshawk, Band-tailed Pigeon, Thick-billed Parrot, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Ladder-backed Woodpecker (D. s. giraudi), Pine Flycatcher, Buff-breasted Flycatcher, Vermilion Flycatcher (P. r. mexicanus), Steller's Jay, Scrub Jay, Mexican Chickadee, Black-crested Titmouse (P. a. atricristatus), Cactus Wren (C. b. guttatus), Robin, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (P. c. amoenissima), Hutton's Vireo (V. h. stephensi), Bell's Vireo (V. b. medius), Hartlaub's Warbler, Summer Tanager (P. r. cooperi), Pine Siskin, Rufous-capped Atlaptes, and Black-throated Sparrow (A. b. grisea).

The Chihuahua-Zacatecas Biotic Province.—This province in Coahuila covers the arid, interior, western desert area; it consists of rolling plains with mountains that rise islandlike above the general surface. Some of the mountains, such as in the Sierra del Carmen and the Sierra del Pino, are more than 9000 feet high. The major part of this biotic area lies within the Lower Sonoran Life-zone. Areas of the Transition and Canadian life-zones are present on some of the higher mountains; their discontinuity results in a discontinuous distribution of the conifer-dependent avifauna.

The large desert restricts the movement of birds considerably. Major results of this include isolation of certain populations and absence of others in the boreal islands. For example, Miller (1955a:157) noted that the "dispersal of conifer-belt birds to and from the Sierra del Carmen, although not as difficult as to well separated islands [such as off the coast of Baja California], is nevertheless a formidable matter to accomplish across the great deserts of Texas, Chihuahua, and Coahuila." Miller (loc. cit.) noted also that the avifauna of the Sierra del Carmen, due to its insularity, is unbalanced and stated that "as a consequence of unbalance, species that are present show ecologic extension and unusual numerical relations." At least in this type of environment, an extension or expansion of the ecologic habits of the related types takes place when some species are absent.

This isolation influences local variation among some of the birds found in Coahuila. Niches elsewhere usually occupied by certain species, absent here, are occupied by other species. These other species thus enjoy an ecologic freedom and can expand their niches in the absence of related types of similar ecologic scope. For example, Miller (1955a:158-159) reported that Hairy Woodpeckers occurred only casually in the Sierra del Carmen and that the Ladder-backed Woodpecker has spread out and seems to occupy the niche or niches usually characteristic of the Hairy Woodpecker. Changes usually thought of as of subspecific character seem to be taking place between the Ladder-backed Woodpeckers of the Sierra del Carmen and of other areas, possibly because the Ladder-backed Woodpecker in the Sierra del Carmen is extending its ecologic sphere more than in areas where the Hairy Woodpecker exists. Restriction in dispersal due to geographic isolation has probably hindered gene flow, thus allowing rapid local adaptation, recognizable in variation at the infraspecific level. Miller (loc. cit.) listed other birds that have expanded their ecologic scope; his work should be referred to for further details.

The following birds are associated with this province: Black Vulture, Scaled Quail (C. s. pallida), Turkey, Elf Owl, Green Kingfisher, Hairy Woodpecker (D. v. icastus), Ladder-backed Woodpecker (D. s. cactophilus), Wied's Crested Flycatcher, Buff-breasted Flycatcher, Vermilion Flycatcher (P. r. flammeus), Black-crested Titmouse (P. a. dysleptus), Cactus Wren (C. b. couesi), Curve-billed Thrasher (T. c. celsum), Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (P. c. amoenissima), Hutton's Vireo (V. h. carolinae), Summer Tanager (P. r. cooperi), and