More information:

Simmons, R.E. and Allan, D.G. 2002. The Orange River avifauna: abundance, richness and comparisons. Ostrich 73(1-2): 1-8


Description:

Like many other southern African rivers, the avifaunal richness and abundance of the Orange River, southern Africa's longest, remains virtually unknown. Given that the Orange River runs through hyper-arid regions in its lower reaches, its linear oasis effect and its role as a reservoir for Red Data bird species is likely but has not been quantified.

Summary / Notes:

Two surveys either side of the border town of Noordoewer, in the rainy and dry seasons of 1996 and 1997 determined that species richness was higher in riverine habitat (71 species) than in the surrounding Nama Karoo (46 species) confirming the linear oasis effect. Surveys revealed five Namibian Red Data species. Peregrine Falcons, Falco peregrinus, and African Fish Eagles, Haliaeetus vocifer, were relatively common while the endangered Cape Eagle Owl, Bubo capensis, occurred sporadically. Among wetland Red Data bird species, Black Storks, Ciconia nigra, occurred in less disturbed areas, and White-backed Night Herons, Gorsachius leuconotus, were an unexpected species at this locality. The overall species richness of 103 birds and a density of riparian birds of 31-34 birds/10 km, makes the lower Orange River avifauna similar to the Cunene River but tenfold less abundant than Namibia's other perennial rivers. Despite the low diversity, the arid habitats of the lower Orange River support greater diversity than more easterly regions when all current surveys of richness and abundance from Lesotho to the mouth on the Namib coast are combined. This east-west trend may be explained by the slower flow and warmer water of the lower Orange River but natural turbidity and regulation may explain the generally low diversity and abundance indices. Major rivers in southern Africa appear to have been overlooked as wetland habitats, and further avifaunal surveys of all of them are to be recommended.

Year: 2002

Type: Journal Article

Origin: Bibliography compiled by Bird Database Project

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