Brasilia Tapaculo (Scytalopus novacapitalis) seasonality and site occupancy in altitudinal riparian environments after non-natural burnings and feral pig invasion in Serra da Canastra national park, Brazil.
The Brasilia Tapaculo, Scytalopus novacapitalis Sick, 1958, is a rare, geographically restricted, and endangered bird species that inhabits riparian vegetation of Cerrado, mainly Gallery Forests. In Serra da Canastra National Park, southeastern Brazil, wetlands are under threat due to frequent non-natural burnings and invasion by feral pigs, Sus scrofa, Linnaeus, 1758. We aimed to evaluate the possible effects of seasonal variations on S. novacapitalis records in undisturbed habitats and answer questions about how fire and feral pigs may affect site occupancy of the species. Transects alongside riparian environments were used to survey n=21 sites, totalizing 7.5 Km, from 2014 to 2019. Results indicated the season influenced both, spontaneous records and induced encounters by playback method, which were more abundant in breeding period, from early spring to summer. The use of playback significantly increased the amount of records in all seasons. The probability of site occupancy in all studied area was higher in late spring (ψ=0.91) and lower in autumn (ψ=0.73). In burned sites (n=8), the first post-fire month showed the lowest probability of occupancy, but there was a rapid recovery in 2nd month and stabilization similar to control area from the 3rd month ahead. After sites (n=11) were invaded by feral pigs, the estimation of site occupancy indicated a slight drop in first two months, but after the 3rd month of invasion the decreasing pattern enhanced the discrepancy with undisturbed areas. It is important to keep monitoring S. novacapitalis population and their threats, to subsidize management actions, especially to avoid frequently unusual burnings in riparian forests, and to block the access of feral pigs to wetlands.