Composition and Functional Diversity in Bird Communities in a Protected Humid Coastal Savanna

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Hindawi Publishing Corperation


Our current understanding of the vertebrate communities of a newly gazetted Tanzanian coastal national park is limited and strongly taxonomically biased towards large mammals. We conducted bird assessments in three sites in Saadani National Park using species lists to analyze some parameters to inform biodiversity conservation in the area. We recorded 3112 individuals in 268 species falling in 66 families, including 2 endangered, 2 vulnerable, and 6 near threatened species. Both species richness and species diversity varied between sites. Species relative abundances were not different between the sites although some functional groups, especially granivores, were more abundant than others. Bird assemblages included 21 forest specialists (FF-species), 35 forest generalists (F-species), and 68 forest visitors (f-species) overlapping among bushland, wooded grassland, grassland, and thickets suggesting presence of important microhabitats for the forest-associated species in this ecosystem. Bird species richness in a feeding guild also showed marked overlap between habitats suggesting availability of rich food resources for the birds. This paper highlights the importance of maintaining a structurally heterogeneous landscape to sustain diverse bird communities in the area.



Bird communities, Bodiversity conservation, Saadan National Park, coastal forests