Posted on the 10th August 2010

(Prof Les Underhill reports as follows on the ADU website - Ed.).

PhD student Sally Hofmeyr is attending the annual "Fynbos Forum" meeting, being held this year in Citrusdal from 3–6 August. This year's meeting has, as its theme, "The International Year of Biodiversity". Sally is presenting a talk, based on her PhD research, at the forum on Thursday: The Southern Black Korhaan: a fynbos species in trouble.

ABSTRACT: Southern Black Korhaan Afrotis afra has recently been split from the Northern Black Korhaan A. afraoides. Whereas A. afraoides is widespread and common in several countries, A. afra is endemic to South Africa and largely restricted to karoo and fynbos habitats, and recent anecdotal evidence suggests that the species is in decline. Analysis of data from the Coordinated Avifaunal Roadcounts (CAR) project, a volunteer participation project run by the Animal Demography Unit (ADU) confirms this, revealing a rapid decrease in the population in the Swartland and Overberg. Comparison of data from the Southern African Bird Atlas Projects (SABAP1 and SABAP2), using occupancy modelling, adds further weight to this conclusion, and suggests that the decline has been especially severe in the Fynbos and Succulent Karoo biomes. The areas most affected appear to those on the edges of the Fynbos biome, where quarter degree grid cells are between 50 and 75% fynbos. The region occupied by A. afra is predicted to be severely affected by climate change, and possible reasons for the species’ decline to date include climate change, land-use change, and the increase in abundance of some avian predators within A. afra’s range, for example the Pied Crow Corvus albus.


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