Aves, p�le ornithologique de Natagora

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Aves, 21/4 | 1984 | 209-226

  Mediterranean forest avifauna ; history and evolution.
Blondel, J.

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Article summary

The typical mediterranean boiclimate (one single dry season) appears in isolated zones on several continents; Although mediterranean endemism proves to be very important as far as flora and entomofauna are concerned, very few ornithological species are of authentic mediterranean origin. The comparison of medio-european, provençal and corsican forest avifaunas shows a strong similitude. The mediterranean influence is essentially limited to an impoverishment of the number of forest species, and to a good representation of the Fringillidae. On the other hand, the analysis of mediterranean ecological sequences indicates that the more the vegetation evolves towards climat forest stages, the more the birds involved are composed of species of northern biogeographical origin. Such a paradox can only be explained by considering this avifauna as having been shaped during the last glaciations. Fundamentally, there exists only one type of european forest avifauna, and this took refuge in the mediterraen origin (especially the Sylvia and Alectoris genera) have evolved comparatively recently on isolated spots in open landscape (as for example "garrigue" formations). To this has been added, during the last 6.000 years or so, the action of man which has favoured the extension of open country to the detriment of forest, and consequently of the species which are dependent thereon.

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