Natural Resources, School of

 

Date of this Version

12-2015

Citation

McCollum, Kathryn R. 2015. Occupancy Analysis and Density Estimation of Kori Bustards (Ardeotis kori) and Helmeted Guineafowl (Numida meleagris) for Use in Landscape Conservation Planning in the Northern Tuli Game Reserve, Botswana. Thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, USA.

Comments

A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Natural Resource Sciences, Under the Supervision of John P. Carroll and Larkin A. Powell. Lincoln, Nebraska: December, 2015

Copyright (c) 2015 Kathryn R. McCollum

Abstract

For understudied species, more informed conservation planning and decision-making on both the local and landscape levels may be attained through the use of occupancy and abundance estimations. Here, we focus on two iconic bird species in eastern Botswana, kori bustards (Ardeotis kori) and helmeted guineafowl (Numida meleagris). The overall goal of this project was to better understand the hierarchy of factors that influence occupancy (ψ) and density of kori bustard and helmeted guineafowl populations within the Northern Tuli Game Reserve and how these factors may interact to affect landscape conservation and usage. We performed distance sampling for both species over two field seasons throughout the Northern Tuli Game Reserve, Botswana during June 2014-July 2014 and May 2015-July 2015. We found that kori bustard probability of occupancy was influenced by open canopies (ψ2014open=0.373, SE±0.086; ψ2015open=0.392, SE±0.061) when compared to closed canopies (ψ2014closed=0.000, SE±0.000; ψ2015closed=0.000, SE±0.000). Kori bustard densities were highest in 2014 in areas of sparse vegetation at higher elevations with 5.02 individuals/km2 (95% confidence interval: 1.04 – 24.2 individuals) and lowest in areas of dense vegetation at upper elevation with 0.02 individuals/km2 (95% confidence interval: 0.005 – 0.140 individuals). In 2015 highest densities were found in areas of sparse vegetation at lower elevations with 2.20 individuals/km2 (95% confidence interval: 1.73 – 2.80 individuals) and lowest in areas of sparse vegetation at upper elevations with 0.130 individuals/km2 (95% confidence interval: 0.071 – 0.239 individuals). Helmeted guineafowl occupancy was most influenced by dense vegetation (ψ2014dense =0.800, SE±0.103; ψ2015dense =0.752, SE±0.116) and closed canopy (ψ2014closed=0.857, SE±0.132; ψ2015closed=0.755, SE±0.181), with some influence by lower elevations (ψ2014lower=0.514, SE±0.084; ψ2015lower=0.637, SE±0.082) when compared to sparse vegetation (ψ2014sparse=0.405, SE±0.065; ψ2015sparse=0.436, SE±0.067), open canopy (ψ2014open=0.448, SE±0.061; ψ2015open=0.477, SE±0.064) and upper elevations (ψ2014upper=0.462, SE±0.082; ψ2015upper=0.367, SE±0.082). In 2014, helmeted guineafowl were found at highest densities in areas of sparse vegetation at lower elevations with 828 individuals/km2 (95% confidence interval: 564 – 1217 individuals) and lowest densities in areas of sparse vegetation at upper elevations 49.1 individuals/km2 (95% confidence interval: 30.9 – 78.1 individuals). In 2015, helmeted guineafowl were found at highest densities in areas of dense vegetation at higher elevations with 2,085 individuals/km2 (95% confidence interval: 905 – 4803) and at lowest densities in areas of sparse vegetation at upper elevations with 38.9 individuals/km2 (95% confidence interval: 23.81 – 63.81 individuals). By determining which habitat and landscape factors influence kori bustard and helmeted guineafowl density and occupancy we will be able to make more informed decisions to aid in the conservation of both species and species that utilize the same types of habitats and resources. We discuss how using these data for landscape conservation planning could have a positive impact on the future of the study site and surrounding area. Habitat-specific information may identify risks during landscape conservation planning within the range of the kori bustard and helmeted guineafowl.

Advisors: John P. Carroll and Larkin A. Powell