OJE  Vol.3 No.7 , November 2013
Bird species composition and diversity in habitats with different disturbance histories at Kilombero Wetland, Tanzania
Abstract: Wetland natural grasslands are important habitats for avian populations throughout the world. Unfortunately the increase of human population and rise in demand for settlements and agricultural land have degraded these habitats in many tropical wetlands. To effectively restore these natural grasslands and conserve avifaunal biodiversity, understanding of the relationships between habitat conditions and bird community structure are central. We used a combination of information from nearby villagers and field surveys to establish two important grassland habitats with low and high disturbance histories, and related the habitats to bird community structure. We surveyed a total of 119 sites in the two habitats to examine variation in the abundance, richness, diversity and composition of birds at Kilombero Wetland Tanzania. In total, 3049 individuals, 126 species, 88 genera and 45 families were recorded from Kilombero grasslands. Our results show that grasslands with low human disturbance had more number of bird species, genera, families and diversity (both ShannonWiener and Simpson) than the most disturbed grasslands atp< 0.05. However, the abundance and Shannon evenness of birds were not different (p> 0.05) between low and highly disturbed grassland habitats suggesting that other factors including variety of foraging sites are important. This study confirms that the wetland grasslands of Kilombero are important for conservation of birds including rare and endemic species. It is recommended that anthropogenic disturbancesshould be minimized including control of fire, regulation of agricultural activities and population of cattle within the wetland system to restore and conserve biodiversity.
Cite this paper: Ntongani, W. and Andrew, S. (2013) Bird species composition and diversity in habitats with different disturbance histories at Kilombero Wetland, Tanzania. Open Journal of Ecology, 3, 482-488. doi: 10.4236/oje.2013.37056.

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