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Anthropogenic disturbance regimes in areas that were once large continuous habitats have been major drivers of habitat fragmentation and loss which in turn form the largest worldwide threat to avian biodiversity. Studies suggest that functional trait based approaches provide better understanding of fragmentation effects on ecological processes in human-modified landscapes. However, research on these thematic areas is limited in many tropical regions, such as Ethiopia. In this study, we evaluated sensitivity of bird communities and functional groups to fragmentation processes in Ethiopia. Standard point counts were used to survey birds in 16 remnant forest patches of variable sizes and degrees of isolation. The information theoretic model selection approach was used for precise understanding of avian functional group responses to habitat loss and fragmentation. Results showed strong impacts of forest loss and fragmentation on forest specialists, insectivores, frugivores, open nesters, understorey nesters and resident birds. Protection and restoration of the remnant forest patches may help mitigate the negative effects of fragmentation on such specialist bird functional groups.
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Generalized linear mixed models predicting bird abundance for selected bird functional group categories