Comparison of Avifaunal Assemblage and their Association with Plant Cover in Protected and Unprotected Montane Grassland Ecosystems in Bale Mountains National Park, Ethiopia
Study on the comparison of avifaunal assemblage in the protected and unprotected montane grassland ecosystems of the Bale Mountains National Park was conducted during the wet and dry seasons of 2011–12. Sampling sites based on disturbance were randomly identified and a transect line of one or less than one km was taken. Unprotected habitats had high species richness and diversity during both seasons. However, during the wet season, although the protected habitat had low species richness, it had high species diversity. The abundance of birds between habitats showed significant difference (Χ2= 360.06, df= 1 and P < 0.001) during both seasons. During the wet season, avian species richness was negatively correlated with grass height (r= -0.836). The difference in birds’ community between the two land use types is likely due to the difference in vegetation structural components. This, in turn, might be due to differences in the level of human-induced factors in the sites, which is higher in unprotected area and of habitat structural diversity (both horizontal and vertical). Future research should focus on comparing guilds (e.g., habitat, feeding and substrate use guilds) in order to better understand the effect of disturbance on birds in the area.