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The White-breasted Guineafowl Agelastes meleagrides in Taï National Park, Côte d'Ivoire

  • I. S. Francis (a1), N. Penford (a1), M. E. Gartshore (a2) and A. Jaramillo (a3)

Summary

The White-breasted Guineafowl Agelastes meleagrides, an endangered endemic bird of the Upper Guinea forests of West Africa, was studied in Taï National Park, south-west Côte d'Ivoire, from February 1989 to February 1991. Groups of guineafowl were followed, with notes made on behaviour, movements, diet and habitat; droppings were collected, photographs taken and sound recordings made.

There were 118 sightings of the birds, with 120 hours of direct observation. Average group size was 15.8, and young birds were seen on 12 occasions in the months November to May. The birds prefer dry, closed-canopy forest, and avoid wet valley bottoms. They spend much of the day walking over the forest floor searching for food, scratching leaves noisily and uttering a fairly continuous quiet “twitter”. Around 60% of each day is spent feeding, and the birds appear to eat mainly invertebrates. Intra-group aggression or chasing occurs with some frequency. Preening is also frequent, accounting for around 20% of the day. Alertness, walking and inactivity occur for short periods throughout the day. The birds roost in thin understorey trees, with group members spread over around 30×30 m.

The birds range over approximately 0.9 km2, and during the day follow a convoluted route. If one group encounters another, fierce inter-group aggression may ensue. Over much of Taï Forest, an average group of guineafowl is likely to consist of around 16 birds and range over approximately 1 km2. The population of the birds in Taï National Park may number perhaps 30,000–40,000 birds. The conservation of White-breasted Guineafowl will be best achieved through the protection of its remaining forest habitat and prevention of hunting.

La pintade à poitrine blanche Agelastes meleagrides, une espèce menacée d'oiseau endémique des forets de Haute Guinée dans l'Ouest Africain, a été étudié dans le Parc National Taï, au sud-ouest de la Côte d'Ivoire, de février 1989 à février 1991. Des groupes de pintades ont été suivis, et des notes prises sur leur comportement, leurs mouvements, leur régime alimentaire et leur habitat; des fientes ont été recueillies, des photos prises et des sons enregistrés.

Ces oiseaux ont été vus 118 fois, représentant un total de 120 heures d'observation directe. La taille moyenne d'un groupe de pintades était de 15, 8 individus, et de jeunes oiseaux ont été vus à 12 reprises pendant la période de novembre à mai. Ces oiseaux préfèrent des forêts sèches, à voûtes fermées, et évitent les fonds de vallées humides. Ils passent la majeure partie de la journée à marcher sur le sol de la forêt, cherchant leur nourriture, grattant bruyamment les feuilles et émettant un gazouillement tranquille, assez continu. Près de 60% de chaque journée sont consacrés à la recherche de l'alimentation, et ces oiseaux semblent se nourrir principalement d'invertébrés. Les agressions et les poursuites internes au groupe se produisent assez fréquemment. Le lissage des plumes est également fréquent et occupe à peu près 20% de la journée. L'état d'alerte, la marche et l'inactivité occupent de courtes périodes de temps tout au long de la journée. Ces oiseaux se perchent sur les arbres fins des sous-bois, les membres du groupe pouvant occuper une superficie d'environ 30×30 m.

L'aire de distribution de ces oiseaux couvre approximativement 0, 9 km2 et pendant la journée ils suivent un itinéraire compliqué. Si un groupe en rencontre un autre, un combat féroce entre les deux groupes peut s'en suivre. Dans la majeure partie de la forêt Taï, un groupe moyen de pintades consiste en général de 16 oiseaux et occupe une superficie d'environ 1 km2. La population de ces oiseaux dans le Pare National Taï doit compter entre 30,000 et 40,000 individus. La meilleure façon de protèger la pintade à poitrine blanche est de préserver ce qu'il reste de son habitat forestier et d'empêcher la chasse de cette espèce.

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References

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The White-breasted Guineafowl Agelastes meleagrides in Taï National Park, Côte d'Ivoire

  • I. S. Francis (a1), N. Penford (a1), M. E. Gartshore (a2) and A. Jaramillo (a3)

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