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Home range and habitat use of Trumpeter Hornbills <i>Bycanistes bucinator</i> in an urban–forest mosaic, Eshowe, South Africa

Moses Chibesa
Barry Taylor
Tharmalingam Ramesh
Colleen T Downs


Despite the negative impacts of urbanisation, some species adapt to pressures of habitat loss and fragmentation. Trumpeter Hornbills Bycanistes bucinator are a large avian forest frugivore that uses urban environments in South Africa. Consequently, we used GPS/UHF transmitters to study their home range size, movement and habitat use in an urban–forest mosaic in Eshowe, South Africa from March to October 2014. We estimated the home range size using three methods: minimum convex polygon (MCP), kernel density estimation (KDE) and local convex hull (LoCoH). Our results showed that overall monthly home range size was 5.1 ± 1.28 km2 (mean ± SE; 95% MCP), 4.6 ± 1.14 km2 (95% KDE) and 1.9 ± 0. 46 km2 (95% LoCoH). However, individual home range sizes varied monthly and seasonally. We found that all individuals tagged used mostly the indigenous forest and frequently utilised urban residential areas (gardens) with little or no use of cultivated land. Observed individual variations in monthly and seasonal home ranges could be a response to variations in availability of key fruit resources in the urban residential and indigenous forest mosaic. This study supports the use of more than one method of home range estimation for insight regarding home range and habitat use in urban–forest mosaics for this large forest frugivore.

Keywords: Bycanistes bucinator, GPS telemetry, kernel density estimation, local convex hull, minimum convex polygon, urbanisation

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eISSN: 1727-947X
print ISSN: 0030-6525