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Conservation evaluation for birds of Brachylaena woodland and mixed dry forest in north-east Tanzania


Three forest and woodland sites were surveyed in the lowlands of the East Usambara mountains, Tanzania, from August to October, 1996. Bombo East I and II Proposed Forest Reserves (PFR) and Bombo West FR were previously unknown biologically. Our fieldwork revealed several records of conservation interest. Four species of global conservation concern (Amani Sunbird Anthreptes pallidigaster, Southern Banded Snake Eagle Circaetus fasciolatus, Fischer's Turaco Tauraco fischeri and Plain-backed Sunbird Anthreptes reichenowi) were recorded, with a further seven species of regional concern. These sites were not as rich in bird species as other East Usambara lowland forests. Bombo East I PFR had the highest richness, which included the presence of three montane species that were most likely cold-season visitors. The Endangered Sokoke Scops Owl Otus ireneae, otherwise known from similar woodland habitat in Kenya as well as lowland forest in the East Usambaras, was apparently absent at these sites. It is also clear from our survey that at least four threatened mammals and one possibly endemic snake inhabit the Brachylaena woodlands and mixed dry forest. Thus, our results indicate that the previously unexplored Brachylaena woodlands and mixed dry forest in north-east Tanzania are an additional habitat to some fauna of threatened status and do, therefore, merit conservation attention. The Brachylaena tree is highly favoured for charcoal production and the enormous demand for this product is increasing the degradation of these woodland patches. Larger tracts of unprotected Brachylaena woodland should receive immediate conservation attention.

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Bird Conservation International
  • ISSN: 0959-2709
  • EISSN: 1474-0001
  • URL: /core/journals/bird-conservation-international
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