Flock size, diet composition, and habitat characteristics of the Ethiopian endemic Ankober Serin Crithagra ankoberensis
A study on the flock size, diet composition, and habitat characteristics of the Ankober Serin Crithagra ankoberensis was carried out at Simien Mountains National Park (SMNP) and Guassa Community Conservation Area (GCCA) between July 2014 and February 2016. The highest and lowest mean flock sizes were 130 (at SMNP) and 16 (both SMNP and GCCA), respectively. Flock size showed significant seasonal variation at both study sites. The dry and wet season mean flock sizes were 84.3 and 47.6 (SMNP), and 61.1 and 39.2 (GCCA). Flock size did not show significant variation at the two study sites. At both study sites the diet was dominated by leaves (80%) and seeds (90%) during the wet and dry seasons, respectively. Insects contributed about 10% and 3% of the diet during the wet season at GCCA and SMNP, respectively. Mosses contributed < 3% of the diet at both study areas. A total of 39 plant species were recorded in Ankober Serin flocking sites. Of these, 29 and 22 were restricted to SMNP and GCCA, respectively, while 12 (31%) were shared. The habitat was dominated by herbs (53%– 96%) with some portions of bare earth (4%– 34%). The vegetation height was predominantly short (< 30 cm) with estimated percentage proportions of 65%– 77%, while tall (> 60 cm) vegetation was less frequent (3.6%– 9.7%). These habitat characteristics can be used as indicators of the presence of Ankober Serin.
Keywords: Ankober Serin, Guassa Community Conservation Area, Simien Mountains National Park, flock size, habitat, diet composition