Original Research

The birds of Sehlabathebe National Park, Lesotho

G. Kopij
Koedoe | Vol 45, No 1 | a15 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v45i1.15 | © 2002 G. Kopij | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 December 2002 | Published: 17 January 2002

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G. Kopij, National University of Lesotho, South Africa

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Abstract

A total of 117 bird species has been recorded in Sehlabathebe National Park, south-east Lesotho, consisting of 29 vagrants, 18 visitors and 70 breeding and probable breeding residents. For each species status was determined and abundance roughly estimated. Quantitative studies on breeding bird communities were carried out by means of the line transect method on four transects with the total length ca 30 km in the park and on two transects with the total length of ca 20 km outside the park. In the park, dominant species were represented by the Stonechat Saxicola torquata, Ayres’ Cisticola Cisticola ayresii, Yellow-rumped Widow Euplectes capensis and Wailing Cisticola Cisticola lais. Outside the park dominants were represented by Cape Weaver Ploceus capensis, Cape Sparrow Passer melanurus, Cape Canary Serinus canicollis, Common Quail Coturnix coturnix, Stonechat, Cape Bunting Emberiza capensis and Drakensberg Siskin Pseudochloroptila symonsi. Characteristic, high-altitude species in the park included Drakensberg Siskin, Mountain Pipit Anthus hoeschi, Orange-breasted Rockjumper Chaetops auriantius, Banded Martin Riparia cincta and Sentinel Rock Thrush Monticola explorator. Species such as the Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis, Sicklewinged Chat Cercomela sinuata, Mountain Chat Oenanthe monticola, Thick-billed Lark Galerida magnirostris, Red-winged Starling Onychognathus morio, Alpine Swift Apus melba Cape Sparrow, Grey-headed Sparrow Passer diffusus, Red Bishop Euplectes orix and Golden Bishop Euplectes afer were absent or occurred in very low densities in the park, although they are widespread and common in the Maluti/Drakensberg grasslands (including areas neighbouring to the park). The lack of trees and shrubs for nesting, the lack of cultivated fields as feeding places and competition with related species both for food and nesting sites, may partly play a role in this regard.

Keywords

Sehlabathebe National Park; Lesotho; Birds; Guantitative studies; Conservation

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Crossref Citations

1. Avian assemblages of river gorges in the Maloti/Drakensberg ‘hot-spot’ region, southern Africa
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