Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 495–511 | Cite as

Avian diversity and endemism in Namibia: patterns from the Southern African Bird Atlas Project

  • A. Robertson
  • A. M. Jarvis
  • C. J. Brown
  • R. E. Simmons


Namibia supports a highly diverse avifauna of 644 species, including over 90 species endemic to the southern African subregion and 13 species endemic to the country. Patterns of species diversity in relation to protected areas and habitat types were analysed using data from the Southern African Bird Atlas Project. A modified Shannon index appropriate for atlas data was used to derive an index of diversity for all species, wetland, terrestrial, threatened, and regional endemic species. Species richness for Namibian endemics was mapped. Overall species diversity is highest in the northeast of Namibia where wetland and riparian habitats coincide. Both wetland and terrestrial species show highest diversity in this area. The greatest diversity of southern African endemics falls within the Savanna-Karoo systems. Several key areas are identified for red data species, including the Caprivi Strip, Kunene and Orange Rivers, coastal wetlands and ephemeral river mouths and pans. This highlights the pressures operating on wetland and riparian habitats in arid environments. Concentrations of Namibian endemics are found in the northwestern (Kaoko) escarpment of the country. Although much of the area of high diversity of wetland, terrestrial and red data species falls within protected areas, national and regional endemics are poorly represented within national parks.

avifauna diversity endemism Namibia red data species SABAP 


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Copyright information

© Chapman and Hall 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Robertson
    • 1
  • A. M. Jarvis
    • 1
  • C. J. Brown
    • 1
  • R. E. Simmons
    • 2
  1. 1.Directorate of Environmental Affairs, Ministry of Environment and TourismWindhoekNamibia
  2. 2.Ornithology SectionMinistry of Environment and TourismWindhoekNamibia

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