Waterbird flight initiation distances at Barberspan Bird Sanctuary, South Africa

Koedoe - African Protected Area Conservation and Science

Field Value
Title Waterbird flight initiation distances at Barberspan Bird Sanctuary, South Africa
Creator Coetzer, Carina Bouwman, Hindrik
Subject Conservation; Reserve management; Ecotourism Flight initiation distances; FID; waterbirds; reserve management; Barberspan Bird Sanctuary; tourism; buffer zone; approach distance; conservation; avitourists
Description With tourism in South Africa expanding, the number of avitourists increases. The increase in infrastructure and human activities in protected areas, if not managed properly, can be harmful to birds. Flight initiation distances (FID) can be used as a method to monitor habituation to disturbances. This study was performed at the Barberspan Bird Sanctuary, North West province, South Africa, to determine the levels of habituation among waterbirds and make appropriate recommendations regarding the management of the reserve. Our results indicated a 0.29 m increase in FID per gram reported mean biomass. Compared with conspecific or congeneric birds from Australia, Europe and North America, South African birds have relatively larger FIDs to human disturbance, which may indicate lower habituation. We also calculated buffer zones based on the maximum FID of the waterbirds for three mass groups. These buffer zones were then matched with the spatial distribution of the birds along the shoreline. We recommend that the mean FID for the blacksmith lapwing, Vanellus armatus (62 m), can be used as approach distance outside the breeding season in areas where the birds are sparsely distributed and 104 m during the breeding season in breeding areas. A large buffer of 200 m is suggested for areas with threatened, sensitive and skittish species. However, it is still preferable for avitourists to use the bird hides along the shores.Conservation implications: This study provides information for conservation management at Barberspan, based on typical birder activity. Smaller birds would need smaller buffer zones, while larger birds need much greater distances from observers to minimise disturbance. Similar studies can be applied elsewhere.
Publisher AOSIS Publishing
Contributor National Research Foundation (NRF) North West Parks and Tourism Board
Date 2017-05-30
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion — —
Format text/html application/epub+zip text/xml application/pdf
Identifier 10.4102/koedoe.v59i1.1419
Source Koedoe; Vol 59, No 1 (2017); 8 pages 2071-0771 0075-6458
Language eng
Relation https://koedoe.co.za/index.php/koedoe/article/view/1419/2059 https://koedoe.co.za/index.php/koedoe/article/view/1419/2057 https://koedoe.co.za/index.php/koedoe/article/view/1419/2060 https://koedoe.co.za/index.php/koedoe/article/view/1419/2056
Coverage South Africa; North West Province; Ramsar sites; Protected areas — Species richness; biomass; Flight initiation distance
Rights Copyright (c) 2017 Carina Coetzer, Hindrik Bouwman https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0