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    Avian diversity and function across the world's most populous cities

    Richardson, James, Lees, Alexander C ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7603-9081, Miller, Eliot T and Marsden, Stuart J (2023) Avian diversity and function across the world's most populous cities. Ecology Letters. ISSN 1461-023X

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    Understanding the composition of urban wildlife communities is crucial to promote biodiversity, ecosystem function and links between nature and people. Using crowdsourced data from over five million eBird checklists, we examined the influence of urban characteristics on avian richness and function at 8443 sites within and across 137 global cities. Under half of the species from regional pools were recorded in cities, and we found a significant phylogenetic signal for urban tolerance. Site-level avian richness was positively influenced by the extent of open forest, cultivation and wetlands and avian functional diversity by wetlands. Functional diversity co-declined with richness, but groups including granivores and aquatic birds occurred even at species-poor sites. Cities in arid areas held a higher percentage of regional species richness. Our results indicate commonalities in the influence of habitat on richness and function, as well as lower niche availability, and phylogenetic diversity across the world's cities.

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