Modeling the distribution of four-bird species under climate change in Ethiopia
Climate change is one of the major threats to bird populations. Its effects on birds include range shifts, changes in population sizes, earlier breeding and changes in breeding performance. Under climate change, conservation of birds will require an understanding of the present status and responses of birds to future climates. However, our knowledge of the future distribution of bird species is limited especially in developing countries like Ethiopia where avian research is still in its infancy. Here, we used the MaxEnt model to predict the current and future distribution of four-bird species (Bostrychia carunculata, Columba albirtoques, Corvus crassirostris, and Lybius undatus) in Ethiopia under different climate scenarios. The results indicated that maximum temperature, annual precipitation, and human population density were the main factors that determined the distribution of these species. Further, suitable areas for these species were projected to decline under future climate scenarios with the greatest declines being experienced in 2070 under RCP 8.5. However, highland areas experienced low geographic range losses for the four-bird species under climate change. These findings suggest that conservation measures that protect and maintain important highland habitats can ensure the persistence of these bird species under future climates.
Key words/phrases: Bird species, Climate change, Ethiopia, MaxEnt, Species distribution.
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