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Editor's Choice: Waterbirds

By Stephanie Jones


African Spoonbill (Platalea alba). R.M. Randall.
African waterbirds on intensively used and managed waterbodies - how their distribution and abundance informs ecosystem management.
Spatial and Temporal Patterns of Waterbird Assemblages in the
Wilderness Lakes complex, South Africa. Ian A. Russell, Rodney M. Randall and Nicholas Hanekom. Waterbirds 37(1): 1-18.


Waterbirds is an international journal, publishing new information on little known species and promoting new information from around the world. In the March 2014 issue, this study examined the distribution and abundance of 54 waterbird species from 1992 to 2010 in six intensively used and managed estuarine waterbodies, in South Africa. Ducks and grebes were more abundant in low salinity deeper waterbodies, while waders, cormorants and gulls were more abundant in high salinity shallow waterbodies. Higher quantity and quality of food sources attract herbivorous waterbirds to saline lakes rather than estuaries. Water depth variability influences accessibility of feeding areas, with decreased variability in water levels increasing habitat suitability for herbivores, and reduced open periods in the estuaries decreasing habitat suitability for waders. Turbidity did not significantly influence the distribution of waterbirds, whereas disturbance from human activities and vegetation of sandbanks were considered to be important factors.

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