Sandstone plateaus as bird refugia in Lesotho lowlands, southern Africa. - G. Kopij. - Berkut. 19 (1-2). 2010. - P. 39-48.
Breeding bird communities were quntified by means of the line transect method in three plateaus (Masite, Qeme, Qoatsaneng) located in Lesotho lowlands, southern Africa. Studies were conducted both on plains (mainly Cymbopogon-Themeda grassland) and slopes (bushy vegetation) of these plateaus and both in dry and wet season. In total 61 species were recorded in the large plateau (Qeme), 57 – in the medium-sized (Masite), and 40 – in small plateau (Qoatsaneng). The index of bird community similarities between slopes and plains was 0.83; between dry and wet season on slopes S = 0.75 and S = 0.44 on plains; between dry and wet seasons was S = 0.76, and between two consecutive years S = 0.94. The most common species were: Laughing Dove, Speckled Pigeon, Spotted Prinia, Karoo Scrub Robin, Cape Robin-Chat, Cinnamon-breasted Bunting, Cape Bunting, Red-winged Starling, Red-eyed Bulbul, Layard’s Tit-Babbler, Rock Martin, Cape Canary, Bokmakierie, Niddicky. To date species such as the Karoo Scrub Robin, Swee Waxbill, Cape Batis, Streaky-headed Seedeater, Yellow Canary, Layard’s Tit-Babbler, Fairy Flycatcher, Pied Barbet, Pied Crow and White-necked Raven were regarded as rare in Lesotho lowlands. It appears, however, that in the bushy vegetation around plateaus in the lowlands they are relatively common. Plateaus play an important role in the protection of birds of prey, ciconid and corvid species. The bushy vegetation around such plateaus may preserve a sizable populations of the Helmeted Guineafowl, Swainson’s Francolin, Ground Woodpecker, Pied Barbet, Karoo Scrub Robin, Cape Rock Thrush, Streaky-headed Seedeater, Black-throated Canary, Layard’s Tit-Babbler, Malachite Sunbird, Fiscal Flycatcher, Fairy Flycatcher, Cape Batis, and Swee Waxbill. The Masite Plateau is postulated to be protected as a nature reserve, while the huge Qeme Plateau as a game reserve. [English].
Key words: bird community, number, habitat, rare species, nature conservation.
Address: G. Kopij, Department of Vertebrate Ecology, Wroclaw University of Environmental & Life Sciences, Kozuchowska 5b, 51-631 Wroclaw, Poland; e-mail: