The Llanos is a significant waterbird site in the Western Hemisphere, but abundance and distribution of waterbirds across this vast region are poorly known, which hampers conservation initiatives. We used point counts along road routes in the Llanos region of Venezuela to examine abundance and distribution of waterbirds during 2000–2002 within five ecoregions across the Llanos. We detected 69 species of waterbirds and recorded 283,566 individuals, of which 10 species accounted for 80% of our observations. Wading birds (Ciconiiformes) represented the largest guild both in numbers of species (26) and individuals (55%), followed by waterfowl (26%), and shorebirds (11%). Five species comprised 62% of all individuals: Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis), White-faced Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna viduata), Black-bellied Whistling Duck (D. autumnalis), Great Egret (Ardea alba), and Wattled Jacana (Jacana jacana). Wading birds were particularly ubiquitous with at least 21 of 26 species recorded in each of the ecoregions. Species richness (66), proportion of waterbirds detected (54%), and mean number of birds per route (1,459) were highest in the Banco-Bajio-Estero savanna ecoregion. Our study provides the most comprehensive data set available on waterbirds in the Llanos of Venezuela and highlights regions of special conservation concern.

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