Habitat preferences of birds in a montane forest mosaic in the Bamenda Highlands, Cameroon

  • Jirí Reif Department of Ecology, Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague, Vinicná 7, CZ-128 44 Praha, Czech Republic; Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague, Vinicná 7, CZ-128 44 Praha, Czech Republic
  • Ondrej Sedlácek Department of Ecology, Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague, Vinicná 7, CZ-128 44 Praha, Czech Republic
  • David Horák Department of Ecology, Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague, Vinicná 7, CZ-128 44 Praha, Czech Republic; Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague, Vinicná 7, CZ-128 44 Praha, Czech Republic
  • Jan Riegert Department of Zoology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of South Bohemia, Branišovská 31, CZ-370 05 Ceské Budejovice, Czech Republic
  • Michal Pešata Department of Ecology, Faculty of Agriculture, University of South Bohemia, Studentská 13, CZ-370 05 Ceské Budejovice, Czech Republic
  • Záboj Hrázský Department of Botany, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of South Bohemia, Branišovská 31, CZ-370 05 Ceské Budejovice, Czech Republic; Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Institute of Systems Biology and Ecology, Na Sádkách 7, CZ-370
  • Štepán Janecek Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Institute of Botany, CZ-379 01, Trebon, Czech Republic

Abstract

Although the high species richness and endemism of birds in the Bamenda Highlands has attracted ornithological research for decades, most studies have been restricted to bird communities of continuous montane forests. Instead, we focused on a mosaic landscape with montane forest remnants, where the habitat preferences of birds remain unknown. We performed an assessment of habitat associations of birds in the Bamenda Highlands in the Cameroon Mountains. Using a point count census method, we detected 71 species within the study area. The most abundant species were the Northern Double-collared Sunbird Cynniris reichenowi, the Oriole Finch Linurgus olivaceus, the Common Stonechat Saxicola torquata, the Thick-billed Seed-eater Serinus burtoni, the Black-crowned Waxbill Estrilda nonnula, the Brown-backed Cisticola Cisticola chubbi and the Yellow-breasted Boubou Laniarius atroflavus. Canonical correspondence analysis revealed that the most important environmental gradient structuring the bird community follows the forest coverage. We found that both endemic and non-endemic montane species are more closely associated with montane forest remnants, compared to widespread species. Endemic species are most closely dependent on continuous forest cover. However, some montane species did not show any clear habitat associations and thus can be viewed as local habitat generalists. This study shows that many restricted-range species (including endangered endemics) are able to live in fragmented landscapes, which cover a substantial part of the Bamenda Highlands. Therefore, conservation programmes should focus their action plans on these landscapes.

Ostrich 2007, 78(1): 31–36
Published
2007-04-24
Section
Articles

Journal Identifiers


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