The Amazon rainforest hosts 15% of the world’s bird species. Despite the staggering diversity of birds, relatively little is known about their natural history. To better understand the timing of life cycle events such as breeding and molting seasonality of Amazonian birds, a team of biologists began a long-term monitoring project in 1978 in the north region of Brazil. Findings from this impressive study are featured in a forthcoming book titled Molt in Neotropical Birds: Life History and Aging Criteria by Drs. Erik Johnson and Jared Wolfe.
“In addition to over a decade of personal research experience in the Amazon, we relied on the long-term dataset to document breeding and molting patterns for nearly 190 bird species, representing 37 families” says Dr. Wolfe, co-author of the book and KBO research associate. “The type of information provided in our book is readily available for birds in North America. Until now, these resources were not available for ornithologists interested in tropical birds.”
The book relies on hundreds of figures and photos to describe breeding seasonality, and unique molt patterns (replacement of feathers) that often vary by age, thereby allowing practitioners to categorize captured birds into age classes. “This book provides the information necessary to determine the age of captured birds, which lays the groundwork for detailed demographic studies of tropical birds” says Dr. Wolfe.
The information detailed in this book is certain to be widely used by ornithologists interested in the natural history, demography and evolution of tropical birds. In his recent Journal of Field Ornithology (Vol. 89:105-107) review, renowned ornithologist Peter Pyle summed “… I consider this an ‘absolute must’ for any student of either avian molt or avian tropical systems, and it has already become one of the eight or so most critical molt‐reference works within immediate reach of my desk.”