Birds' bodies in Amazon Rainforest change due to climate change - study

The study included data on more than 15,000 individual birds over a large range of the rainforest that was analyzed, weighed, captured, and later released bank into the wild.

 Tristram's starling in Masada. Why not take a detective course at the Nili and David Jerusalem Bird Observatory and find such pretty birds yourself? (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Tristram's starling in Masada. Why not take a detective course at the Nili and David Jerusalem Bird Observatory and find such pretty birds yourself?
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Analyses and data from the past four decades concluded that the number of resident birds living in the Amazon rainforest has declined, further noticing a change in the size of the body and wings of birds, according to researchers from Louisiana State University.

The researchers published their findings in the journal Science Advances last Friday, stating that birds native to the Amazon rainforest have had their bodies become smaller, therefore weighing less, but their wings growing larger. Researchers have also concluded that this phenomenon is the result of climate change.

This process has been ongoing for several generations, which may also imply physiological and/or nutritional challenges.

The study included data on more than 15,000 individual birds over a large range of the rainforest that was analyzed, weighed, captured, and later released bank into the wild.

The birds that experienced the most dramatic change in weight and wing size were those that live in the highest midstory section where it is the most exposed to heat and drier conditions. 

A truck loaded with logs cut from an area of the Amazon rainforest is seen in Boca do Acre, Amazonas state, Brazil August 24, 2019 (credit: BRUNO KELLY/REUTERS)A truck loaded with logs cut from an area of the Amazon rainforest is seen in Boca do Acre, Amazonas state, Brazil August 24, 2019 (credit: BRUNO KELLY/REUTERS)

The study also concludes that the birds living in those areas fly more than those that live on the forest floor. 

The theory that the researchers developed is that birds are able to adapt to a hotter climate by reducing their wing loading, therefore becoming more efficient in flight.