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Journal Articles Birds Year : 2021

Diet and Life-History Traits of Savannah Dwelling Waterbirds in Southern Africa: Implications for Their Conservation Status

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1
Tawanda Tarakini
Innocent Mabika
  • Function : Author
Tongayi Mwedzi
Peter Mundy
  • Function : Author

Abstract

This study evaluates the relative contribution of reproduction-based life history traits and diet to the population trends in waterbirds from southern Africa. Life history traits (clutch size, incubation period, fledging time, body mass and generation length), diet (prey weight, body lengths and number of taxa represented in its diet (NTD)) and conservation status (declining/not declining) of 163 waterbird species were reviewed. An index of diet generalism was created based on NTD. Cluster analysis was applied on life history traits to define groups of waterbirds. Binomial regressions were used to test if population trends were different across cluster groups and diet variables. Four clusters of waterbirds were defined, with most waterfowl clustering together. Species that feed on small and large prey had higher probabilities of declining (0.17 and 0.26, respectively) compared to those feeding on medium-sized prey (0.08). Amphibians, coleopterans, crustacea, molluscs and tunicates were used by species in all clusters, and the risk of waterbird populations declining further are high given the current dwindling of the prey base. The large proportions of declining species (61%) in waterbirds, which have constrained habitats, calls for continued efforts to mitigate disturbances to wetlands.
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hal-03384413 , version 1 (18-10-2021)

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Tawanda Tarakini, Innocent Mabika, Tongayi Mwedzi, Peter Mundy, Hervé Fritz. Diet and Life-History Traits of Savannah Dwelling Waterbirds in Southern Africa: Implications for Their Conservation Status. Birds, 2021, 2 (2), pp.173-184. ⟨10.3390/birds2020013⟩. ⟨hal-03384413⟩

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