Bird distribution dynamics - Indigenous francolins in South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland
This is one of a series of papers on bird distribution dynamics that deals with the six indigenous francolin species of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. These gamebirds are affected by various ecological and anthropogenic drivers such as fire, livestock grazing, agriculture, wing shooting and other forms of habitat modification. Their resident statuses and ground-living habits also renders them vulnerable to predators as well as the aforementioned drivers. Assessing the differences between reporting rates of the two South African Bird Atlas Projects as well as overlaying a recent national land cover spatial dataset we attempted to identify which habitats might have caused declines and/or increases in distribution. Using the same methods as with previous bird distribution dynamics papers, we revealed that most species have declined but, in parts of their distribution increases are evident since the first bird atlas project. Here, the perceived drivers of changes in distribution mostly in the form of land cover, are diverse and varied between species. Unfortunately, we could only speculate on the effects of fire as the land cover dataset does not provide a burnt-area class.
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