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Distribution and conservation status of Congo Peafowl Afropavo congensis in eastern Zaire

  • John A. Hart (a1) and Agenoga Upoki (a2)
Summary

Between 1993 and 1995 the occurrence and status of Congo Peafowl Afropavo congensis were assessed at 89 sites in eastern Zaire based on interviews with local hunters (114 locations) and forest surveys (24 locations). The survey region covered approximately 125,000 km2 and was bounded by the Lomami River (24° 30′) to the west, the Albertine Rift Highlands (29°) to the east, the Aruwimi River (20° 30′) to the north and the Kahuzi Biega Park (3° S) to the south. Congo Peafowl have been extirpated or were only doubtfully present at 16 of 65 sites where survey coverage was adequate and where the species was reported to have occurred in the past. Occurrence of the species was confirmed or probable at the remaining 49 sites. Congo Peafowl were reported as locally common (> five reported encounters since 1990) at only 12 sites. We observed or heard peafowl at five sites. A single nest was found which contained two eggs. Observations on group size and habitat associations were also made. Congo Peafowl were considered to be seriously threatened at 19 of the 65 sites. Captures in snares set for small mammals and antelope are a major threat to Congo Peafowl throughout most of the survey region. Mining, shifting cultivation and logging leading to habitat loss were significant threats in several locations. Congo Peafowl appear to have disappeared from several sites where human activity was frequent, but habitat loss was not extensive. The mass movements of Rwandan refugees into eastern Zaire, which began in 1994, pose, a threat to Congo Peafowl in a number of areas. Conservation of the Congo Peafowl in eastern Zaire is best assured in the Maiko National Park where the species appears to be locally common. Further surveys within the Congo Peafowl's range in central Zaire, and study of the behaviour and ecological needs of the species are recommended.

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