Urban riparian corridors have the capacity to maintain high levels of bird abundance and biodiversity. How riparian corridors in cities are used by waterbirds has received relatively little focus in urban bird studies. The principal objective of our study was to determine how habitat and landscape elements affect waterbird biodiversity in an arid city. We surveyed 36 transects stratified across a gradient of urbanization and water availability along the Salt River, a riparian corridor that is monitored as part of the Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research study system located in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Habitat and landscape variables were reduced via Principal Component Analysis to be used in a constrained ordination that identified waterbird community composition patterns, and then used to model the responses of guild abundance and diversity. Habitat and landscape components from the constrained ordination explained 39% of the variation in the waterbird community. Land use components were related to the suite of species at each site, but had a weaker relationship to guild abundance or diversity. Habitat-level components (water physiognomy, shoreline composition, and terrestrial vegetation cover) were more important in predicting both guild abundance and diversity. We found that water physiognomy was the strongest driver shaping waterbird community parameters. The implications of our study are relevant to urban planning in arid cities, offering the opportunity to design and improve wildlife habitat while providing other important public amenities.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nature and Landscape Conservation
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
- Urban Studies