Biodiversity Observations https://journals.uct.ac.za/index.php/BO <p><span class="journal_name">Biodiversity Observations</span> is a semi-scientific e-journal published within the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Cape Town.</p> Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town en-US Biodiversity Observations 2219-0341 Urban avifauna diversity in Stellenbosch, South Africa, during the COVID-19 lockdown and observations of inner-city foraging behaviour https://journals.uct.ac.za/index.php/BO/article/view/923 <p>In times of isolation or confinement, making regular natural history observations can not only represent a source of enjoyment, but generates insights into local avian ecology. Here we present an account of the urban bird diversity of Stellenbosch, South Africa, derived from daily observations of species presence collected during the initial two stages of the country’s nationwide COVID-19 lockdown period (66 days). A total of 38 bird species were observed during this time, including sightings of urban hunting behavior for birds of prey and greenspace foraging in general. The most commonly seen taxa were typical human-commensal species, including sparrows and doves. Many species were encountered far less frequently, with 21 of the 38 species being observed on less than 10 days. This was most notable for birds of prey (n = 6 species from Accipitriformes and Falconiformes) or African swifts (n = 2 species from Apodiformes), which were recorded only a few times for any given species. Our account provides some relatively niche information regarding the presence of birds from a single city block in South Africa and notes interesting observations of urban foraging behaviour, but also underscores the value of birdwatching during times of uncertainty.</p> James Baxter-Gilbert Julia L. Riley Copyright (c) 2022 James Baxter-Gilbert, Julia L. Riley http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2022-07-07 2022-07-07 12 65 70 10.15641/bo.923 Change in moult behaviour of African penguins Spheniscus demersus on Robben Island https://journals.uct.ac.za/index.php/BO/article/view/1199 <p>This paper reports a change in the location of moulting adult African penguins on Robben Island over the period 1998 to 2020. Until 2004, the birds tended to moult along the coastline. By 2020, nearly all the birds moulting on the island appear to do so inland at or near to their nest sites. This behavioural change has implications for estimates of total population size made using counts of moulting birds that do not include the inland moulters.</p> Andile Mdluli Peter J. Barham Copyright (c) 2022 Andile Mdluli, Peter J. Barham http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2022-03-18 2022-03-18 12 9 14 10.15641/bo.1199 Misdirected incubation in Common Kestrels Falco tinnunculus: a case of visual stimulus? https://journals.uct.ac.za/index.php/BO/article/view/1225 <p>The availability of suitable nesting sites may lead to interspecific competition and result in usurpation of these resources. Nest usurpation may result from a population increase of the usurping species and the limited availability of suitable nesting sites. With raptors, interspecific competition for nesting sites with other non-raptor bird species is a rarely documented phenomenon, particularly when it results in mixed interspecific clutches and misdirected reproductive behaviours. I observed a pair of Common Kestrels Falco tinnunculus, without its own clutch, incubating a clutch of two feral pigeon Columba livia eggs. The incubation occurred in the feral pigeons’ nest in southern xerophytic scrub on Tenerife Island during the 2020 breeding season. We checked the focal kestrel territory from 18 March to 20 May once a week. To our knowledge, this represents the first record of a Common Kestrel pair incubating eggs in the non-raptor bird species’ nest in the wild. We discuss some factors which could influence kestrels to display this behaviour.</p> José Carrillo-Hidalgo Copyright (c) 2022 José Carrillo-Hidalgo http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2022-05-27 2022-05-27 12 46 53 10.15641/bo.1225 Do Ospreys Pandion haliaetus prey on coral reef fish? https://journals.uct.ac.za/index.php/BO/article/view/875 <p>Do Ospreys prey on coral reef fish? In short, yes. We report for the first time in scientific literature with photographic proof that Ospreys eat coral reef fish and suggest, based on regular sightings of Osprey hunting over the Watamu Marine National Park lagoon and reef, that coral reef fish form a regular part of their diet while in Kenya.</p> Raphaël Nussbaumer Eric Thuranira Colin H. W. Jackson Copyright (c) 2022 Raphaël Nussbaumer, Eric Thuranira, Colin H. W. Jackson http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2022-02-23 2022-02-23 12 6 8 10.15641/bo.875 First nesting records for Black Sparrowhawk Accipiter melanoleucus in the Northern Cape, South Africa https://journals.uct.ac.za/index.php/BO/article/view/1187 <p>Black sparrowhawks <em>Accipiter melanoleucus</em> have expanded their range westwards into areas previously unsuitable due to a lack of ap-propriate tree cover. They now occur in areas where exotic trees (mainly <em>Eucalyptus</em> and <em>Pinus</em> species) have become established: for-estry plantations, urban areas and infestations along rivers. This pa-per reports the status of black sparrowhawks in the Northern Cape, and the discovery of two nests in <em>Pinus</em> plantations close to Nieu-woudtville in 2019. It is likely that this area was colonised from the Western Cape.</p> Julius H. Koen Brian W. Culver Copyright (c) 2022 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2022-02-23 2022-02-23 12 1 5 10.15641/bo.1187 Mammals of the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, Western Cape, South Africa https://journals.uct.ac.za/index.php/BO/article/view/1219 <p>The status of all the mammal species that have been recorded in the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve (the southern section of the Ta-ble Mountain National Park) is described. A total of 76 species has been recorded, of which 56 occur or have occurred naturally, and 13 are now extinct. More than 20 species have been deliberately or acci-dentally introduced. The history and management of large, non-native herbivores released into the Reserve for public spectacle is described in the context of changing attitudes towards conservation priorities and visitor perceptions.</p> Mike Fraser Copyright (c) 2022 Mike Fraser http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2022-05-12 2022-05-12 12 15 46 10.15641/bo.1219 Dragonflies and Damselflies of the KhoiSan Karoo Conservancy https://journals.uct.ac.za/index.php/BO/article/view/1226 <p>This guide to the dragonflies and damselflies of the KhoiSan Karoo Conservancy provides a provisional list of the first 19 species to be recorded here. It is designed to be used as a guide for visitors. To help with the identification of species, it provides links to the species texts in the online atlas of the Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa, Lesotho and Eswatini, where there is comprehensive information based on annotated photographs.</p> Ryan Tippett Les G Underhill Copyright (c) 2022 Ryan Tippett, Les G Underhill http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2022-06-03 2022-06-03 12 54 59 Ecological invasion of the giant African snail Lissachatina fulica (Bowdich, 1822) in a semi-arid forest of western India. https://journals.uct.ac.za/index.php/BO/article/view/876 <p style="text-align: justify; text-justify: inter-ideograph; margin: 12.0pt 0in 12.0pt .25in;">The giant African snail <em>Lissachatina fulica</em> (Bowdich, 1822) (also known as <em>Achatina fulica</em>) is indigenous to the coastal region of con-tinental East Africa. It is one of the most invasive ecological pests in the world and threatens native flora, agriculture, human and animal health outside its natural range. While dry and semi-arid climatic re-gions are supposed to be immune to its invasion, our data show that this is not always the case. Ranthambhore National Park is dry, de-ciduous forest located in semi-arid part of western India. We have observed the progressive invasion of <em>L. fulica</em> in this fragile land-scape since its first introduction in 2010. Subsequently, it has spread over a large area at an alarming rate. We discuss the observations on behaviour and the factors responsible for the rapid spread of<em> L. fulica</em> in the park.</p> Vishal Rasal Meenu Dhakad Dharmendra Khandal Copyright (c) 2022 vishal Rasal, Meenu, Khandal http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2022-06-14 2022-06-14 12 60 64 10.15641/bo.876