Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology

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Congo Peafowl use both primary and regenerating forest in Salonga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo

M Mulotwa, M Louette, A Dudu, A Upoki, RA Fuller


The Congo Peafowl Afropavo congensis is a little-known species endemic to the Democratic Republic of Congo. A central question in assessing its conservation status is the degree to which it uses secondary forest. Here, we measure relative use of two contiguous forest blocks in Salonga National Park, one patch of primary forest and another of secondary forest that has been regenerating for over 30 years. We searched for Congo Peafowl using systematic surveys along a transect grid, and exhaustive searching of smaller subsections of habitat for secondary signs of peafowl presence (feathers and droppings). Detections of secondary signs of peafowl presence were significantly more frequent in secondary than in primary forest, and 19 of the 31 sightings of birds were in secondary forest. Microhabitats used by the birds differed between forest types, with those in secondary forest being closer to the nearest watercourse, having fewer large trees, and lower plant species richness. In addition, fewer taxonomic groups were found in peafowl droppings collected in secondary forest. Overall, our results demonstrate that old regenerating forest is heavily used by Congo Peafowl at least in this area. Secondary habitats must therefore be considered when planning for the conservation of this species, particularly where regenerating forest fragments might connect larger blocks of habitat.

OSTRICH 2010, 81(1): 1–6

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