Aquatic bird assemblages of a tropical African man-made lake


M.K. Mustapha, E.O. Aiyeleso

Aquatic birds are important biotic components of Lake Ecosystem serving as indicator of pollution, sources of protein, fishing agent, income, recreation, tourism, sport and pest control. The aim of this study was to provide a baseline data and checklist of the bird assemblages in Asa Lake, Ilorin, Nigeria. Bird sampling was conducted weekly for 24 weeks, by walking 10 mS-1 along a line transect on the bank of the lake. The populations were classified as rare, frequently seen and common based on the number of sightings, and abundance. Diversity indices such as dominance, evenness, Simpson diversity, Shanon-Weiner diversity, Marglef’s richness were estimated. 13682 birds consisting of 17 species in 9 families were recorded in the lake. Species were found in highest number during the rains. Water fowl was the most abundant species 42.21%. African jacana was the least abundant constituting 0.67%. Family Ardeidae was the most abundant in terms of species diversity. Three species were commonly seen, four frequently seen, while nine were rare. Diversity indices of the bird species were; (D) 0.045, (1-D) 0.95; (e^H/S) 0.96, Margalef richness 3.67 and (H) 2.99. The assemblage of bird species in the lake was high due to the availability of food, submerged aquatic macrophytes seeds and foliage, large volume of water, surface area and depth of the lake and absence of large predators. Morphological characteristics and behavioural tactics of the birds were attributed to the high occurrence of some of the birds. For continued residency of the birds in the lake, lake best management practices (LBMP) should be implemented. Continuous monitoring of the birds (bio monitor) in the lake should also be done to give an insight into the ecological conditions of the lake and at the same time serving as aesthetic organisms in the lake.

Keywords: Birds; assemblages; lake; foraging; diversity; macrophytes; waterfowl

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