Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 19, Issue 7, pp 1883–1903

Angola’s central scarp forests: patterns of bird diversity and conservation threats

Original Paper

Abstract

Despite Angola’s central scarp forests being recognised as a critical global priority for bird conservation, fine-scale information on threatened bird distributions and patterns of bird diversity are lacking. These data are essential to identify sites within the Western Angola Endemic Bird Area that should be targeted for conservation. First endemic and near-endemic species and subspecies, and species with isolated populations along the Angolan scarp were identified to highlight taxa of greatest priority for conservation and for use in studying the evolutionary origins of the region. Thereafter survey data collected during 2005 from 13 forest sites along the central scarp was analysed. These data show that there are three distinct bird communities across the width of the escarpment, each associated with a distinctive forest type. Of note is the finding that threatened and Near Threatened endemic species occur almost exclusively in the dry forests adjacent to the main escarpment, rather than in the moistest forests found on the main escarpment, which instead are richer in Congo Basin forest birds. Based on these data, summaries of ranges, populations and conservation threats are given for the seven most threatened bird species. Attention is drawn to threats to the habitats of greatest importance to these species. A conservation area network should be established that encompasses the full spectrum of bird diversity described, to ensure survival of current unique taxa and the future evolutionary potential of the area.

Keywords

Angolan scarp forests Bird communities Distributions of threatened species Endemic bird taxa Threats to forests 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.A. P. Leventis Ornithological Research InstituteUniversity of JosJosNigeria
  2. 2.Percy FitzPatrick Institute, DST/NRF Centre of ExcellenceUniversity of Cape TownRondeboschSouth Africa
  3. 3.Birding AfricaClaremont, Cape TownSouth Africa
  4. 4.Rhodesgift, Cape TownSouth Africa

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