Effect of Farming and Rainfall on the Species Diversity, Population Density and Community Structure of Birds Breeding in the Kalahari Woodland, NE Namibia
The line transect method has been employed to assess species diversity, population densities and community structure of birds breeding in a mosaic of Kalahari Woodland and farmland, NE Namibia. The transect, 4.5 km long, was surveyed in 2014 and 2015. The total annual rainfall in 2014 was much higher than in 2015 (427 mm vs. 262 mm).In total, 40 breeding species in 2014, and 46 in 2015 were recorded. Six species were dominant in 2014 (Cape Turtle Dove, Laughing Dove, Emerald-spotted Dove, Blue Waxbill, and White-browed Scrub Robin) and only three species in 2015 (Cape Turtle Dove and Blue Waxbill and Yellow-fronted Canary). Although the cumulative dominance in 2014 almost doubled that in 2014, the Community Index in both years was almost identical. Also diversity indices and evenness index were very similar in both years compared. Granivorous birds were the most numerous feeding guild. Their contribution was similar in 2014 and 2015 (46.7% vs. 43.4%). Two other feeding guilds, insectivores and frugivores, comprised together more than 50% in both years. The number of bird species and species diversity were not influenced by the differential rainfall. However, contrary to expectations, population densities of most bird species (at least the more numerous ones) were higher in the year with lower than in the year with higher rainfall. The number of species and species diversity was similar in the farmland and in neighbouring Kalahari Woodland in a pristine stage. However, population densities of most species were lower in the farmland than in the pristine woodland.
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