The spatial and temporal distribution of avian foraging guilds at the sewerage works at Chepkoilel campus, Moi University, Kenya

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In a study conducted between January–March 2001, the spatial and temporal distribution of bird species in four sewage ponds at Chepkoilel campus, Moi University, Kenya, were determined. The total bird counts were conducted thrice daily for 10 days in each pond, yielding a total of 120 observations for all four ponds. Observations were made on three distinct foraging guilds: divers, surface feeders and birds that fished from the shore. Twenty-four species of birds belonging to 10 families were observed in the ponds. The pond number had a significant effect on the distribution of the mean number of birds for all species. The highest mean number of birds was recorded in the first sedimentation pond receiving raw sewage (Pond I), with the number of birds decreasing linearly to Pond IV. The highest mean number of bird species also was observed for Pond I, with the lowest number being observed for Pond III. Even when the results were adjusted for area, the pond number was still significant, although the order changed significantly. Under these conditions, the highest density of birds was observed for Pond II. This was significantly higher than for Ponds I or III, which exhibited non-significantly different densities. Pond IV exhibited a significantly lower density that all the other ponds. The total number of birds increased with the number of species. The density of avian foraging guilds was found to be significantly higher in Ponds I and II than in Ponds III and IV, supporting our hypothesis that bird abundance and distribution is influenced by the treatment status of the influent sewage.

Keywords: abundance; birds; distribution; sewage ponds; time

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Wildlife Management, Moi University, Eldoret, Kenya

Publication date: September 1, 2005

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