Over the past 35 years, more than two thirds of the Cerrado`s original expanse has been taken by agriculture. Even if some attempts have been made to conserve closed cerrado physiognomies, open cerrado physiognomies, richer in species and more fragile, have been systematically ignored. These open physiognomies are used by almost half of the Cerrado bird species, many of which being endemics. Using data from 11 surveys carried out in Cerrado landscapes, we asked what would happen to bird functional diversity if open cerrado species became extinct. Open cerrado birds would be able to keep on average 59% of the functional diversity. If they became extinct, on average 27% of the functional diversity would be lost. In this case, the remaining functional diversity would be lower than what would be expected by chance in five sites. Although many functions were shared by both open cerrado and forest species, there was some degree of complementarity between them, highlighted by the decrease in functional diversity when the former became extinct. Destruction of open cerrado physiognomies would lead to a habitat simplification, decrease in bird functional diversity, and, ultimately, to a considerable impact on community functioning. Thus, open cerrado physiognomies must receive much more conservation attention than they are currently receiving, because they maintain a high bird functional diversity that would otherwise be considerably diminished Were open cerrado species to become extinct.