Working for birds in Africa

Observations of threatened birds in the East Usambara Mountains, Tanzania

p 59-70

Summary. We report the preliminary observations and results of a survey of the birds of the East Usambara Mountains, north-east Tanzania. Using standardised point counts and opportunistic searches, we collected information on the distribution, habitat selection and relative abundance of those species of greatest conservation concern. Amongst the 124 species recorded during the survey, six are listed in the global Red Data book and nine are considered to be restricted-range. Forest edges and agricultural habitats had notable numbers of species of conservation importance. Habitat requirements of the species of conservation concern differed: whilst ground-foragers (Usambara Thrush Turdus (olivaceus) roehli, Modulatrix spp.) are clearly dependent on intact forest, Banded Sunbird Anthreptes rubritorques, Amani Sunbird Hedydipna pallidigastra, Fischer's Turaco Tauraco fischeri, Kenrick's Starling Poeoptera kenricki and Long-billed Tailorbird Artisornis moreaui are also frequent in successional habitats created by disturbance, at forest edges or even in relatively open, agricultural landscapes. This suggests that some threatened species might benefit from conservation initiatives (e.g., planting of useful indigenous trees) specifically targeted to counter the degradation of such 'fringe' habitats.

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