Biodiversity Observations <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> en-US (Les Underhill) (Jill Claassen) Wed, 23 Feb 2022 00:00:00 +0200 OJS 60 Possible range expansion of the Karoo Prinia Prinia maculosa into the range of the Drakensberg Prinia Prinia hypoxantha in the eastern Free State <p>Possible range expansion of Karoo Prinia <em>Prinia maculosa</em> observed within the range of Drakensberg Prinia <em>P. hypoxantha</em> north east of Harrismith in the eastern Free State. An Karoo Prinia individual was captured and ringed at Mnt Everest Nature Reserve, Harrismith on 3 November 2021 in Leucosidea sericea bush on mountain slope of Mooihoekkop. On 4 November 2021 the net site were moved to the Mnt Everest hilly slope and a Drakensberg Prinia was captured and ringed. Both species were also photographed and submitted to the Biodiversity Development Institure Virtual Museum (VM 19170 &amp; 19171). The ocurrence and new distribution records of Karoo Prinias within the range of Drakensberg Prinias north of Harrismith is discussed.</p> Dawie de Swardt Copyright (c) 2022 Dawie de Swardt Wed, 19 Oct 2022 00:00:00 +0200 Dragonflies and Damselflies of the Lower Olifants River Valley: Citrusdal to the sea <p>This paper contains a list of the 38 species of dragonflies and damselflies recorded to date on the section of the Olifants River between Citrusdal and the sea at Papendorp. It is designed to be used as a guide for residents and visitors. To help with the identification of species, links to the species texts in the online Atlas of the Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa, Lesotho and Eswatini are provided. These contain comprehensive species information and annotated photographs. We also set out priorities for further observations.</p> Ryan Tippett, Salome Willemse, Les G Underhill Copyright (c) 2022 Ryan Tippett, Salome Willemse, Les G Underhill Wed, 31 Aug 2022 00:00:00 +0200 Urban avifauna diversity in Stellenbosch, South Africa, during the COVID-19 lockdown and observations of inner-city foraging behaviour <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 Thu, 07 Jul 2022 00:00:00 +0200 Change in moult behaviour of African penguins Spheniscus demersus on Robben Island <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 Fri, 18 Mar 2022 00:00:00 +0200 Misdirected incubation in Common Kestrels Falco tinnunculus: a case of visual stimulus? <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 Fri, 27 May 2022 00:00:00 +0200 Do Ospreys Pandion haliaetus prey on coral reef fish? <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 Wed, 23 Feb 2022 00:00:00 +0200 First nesting records for Black Sparrowhawk Accipiter melanoleucus in the Northern Cape, South Africa <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 Wed, 23 Feb 2022 00:00:00 +0200 Mammals of the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, Western Cape, South Africa <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 Thu, 12 May 2022 00:00:00 +0200 Dragonflies and Damselflies of the KhoiSan Karoo Conservancy <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 Fri, 03 Jun 2022 00:00:00 +0200 Ecological invasion of the giant African snail Lissachatina fulica (Bowdich, 1822) in a semi-arid forest of western India. <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 Tue, 14 Jun 2022 00:00:00 +0200