Assemblages of avian communities in forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis) range in Ghana

Edward D. Wiafe, Kwaku Brako Dakwa, Samuel Yeboah

Abstract


The bird assemblages occurring in the habitats altered by the forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis) in Kakum Conservation Area, Ghana were examined. The conservation area was divided into five blocks and then four circular plots of 30-m-radius were established in each of three identified habitat types: close forest, open forest and swamp forest. Thus each habitat type was represented by 20 plots of 0.30 ha each, and altogether, 60 plots covering 18 ha of the study area were sampled. The degree of elephant use in each plot was recorded, and, all the birds were identified and counted. The elephants were found to alter all the three habitats with the highest intensity recorded in the swamp forest, followed by open forest and close forest with 49, 59 and 57 species of birds respectively. The species similarity found among bird assemblages range between 55 and 59%. The mean abundance of birds per ha in close forest was 30.2 ± 1.9 significantly lower than in open forest with 42.8 ± 3.9 and swamp forest with 39.3 ± 2.5. Diversity indices (Shannon) ranging between 3.63 and 3.86 indicated high diversity of bird assemblages in the three habitat types. The relationships between the intensity of elephant habitat alteration and both abundance and bird species were weak and not significant. Though the forest elephant’s habitat alteration may have some influence on bird assemblages, other factors may act in concert to affect the avian communities.

Keywords


Avian communities, forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis), habitat types

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