Abstract Quantifying habitat use is important for understanding how animals meet their requirements for survival and provides information for conservation planning. Currently, assessments of range-wide habitat use that delimit species distributions are incomplete for many taxa. The Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpyja) is a raptor of conservation concern, widely distributed across Neotropical lowland forests, that currently faces threats from habitat loss and fragmentation. Here, we use penalized logistic regression to identify species-habitat associations and predict habitat suitability based on a new International Union for the Conservation of Nature range metric, termed Area of Habitat. From the species-habitat model, we performed a gap analysis to identify areas of high habitat suitability in regions with limited coverage in the key biodiversity area (KBA) network. Range-wide habitat use indicated that Harpy Eagles prefer areas of 70%–75% evergreen forest cover, low elevation, and high vegetation species richness. Conversely, Harpy Eagles avoid areas of >10% cultivated landcover and mosaic forest, and topographically complex areas. Our species-habitat model identified a large continuous area of potential habitat across the pan-Amazonia region, and a habitat corridor from the Chocó-Darién ecoregion of Colombia running north along the Caribbean coast of Central America. Little habitat was predicted across the Atlantic Forest biome, which is now severely degraded. The current KBA network covered 18% of medium to high Harpy Eagle habitat exceeding a target biodiversity area representation of 10%, based on species range size. Four major areas of high suitability habitat lacking coverage in the KBA network were identified in north and west Colombia, western Guyana, and north-west Brazil. We recommend these multiple gaps of habitat as new KBAs for strengthening the current KBA network. Modeled area of habitat estimates as described here is a useful tool for large-scale conservation planning and can be readily applied to many taxa.



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Ornithological Applications







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School of Biological and Marine Sciences