Population estimates and habitat use by the critically endangered Taita Apalis Apalis fuscigularis in south-eastern Kenya
Borghesio, L., Samba, D., Githiru, M., Bennun, L. and Norris, K. (2010) Population estimates and habitat use by the critically endangered Taita Apalis Apalis fuscigularis in south-eastern Kenya. Bird Conservation International, 20 (4). pp. 440-455. ISSN 0959-2709
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1017/s0959270910000298
The Taita Apalis Apalis fuscigularis (IUCN category: Critically Endangered) is a species endemic to south-eastern Kenya. We assessed population size and habitat use in the three forest sites in which it is known to occur (Ngangao, Chawia and Vuria, totalling 257 ha). The estimate of total population size, derived from distance sampling at 412 sample points, ranged from 310 to 654 individuals, with the northern section of Ngangao fragment having 10-fold higher densities than Chawia (2.47-4.93 versus 0.22-0.41 birds ha(-1)). Ngangao north alone hosted 50% of the global population of the species. The highly degraded Vuria fragment also had moderately high densities (1.63-3.72 birds ha(-1)) suggesting that the species tolerates some human disturbance. Taita Apalis prefers vegetation with abundant climbers, but the predictive power of habitat use models was low, suggesting that habitat structure is not a primary cause for the low density of the species in Chawia. Protecting the subpopulation in the northern section of Ngangao is a priority, as is identifying factors responsible of the low abundance in Chawia, because ameliorating conditions in this large fragment could substantially increase the population of Taita Apalis.