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Distribution of Lilian's Lovebirds in Malawi

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Lilian's Lovebird Agapornis lilianae is regarded as a mopane Colophospermum mopane woodland specialist. Its global population is sparse and is spread along the Zambezi valley with little known about its current distribution and status. We explored the current distribution of Lilian's Lovebird in Malawi, and in particular focused on the distribution and habitat associations of the largest resident population in Liwonde National Park (LNP). Local birders and tourist guides provided distribution information from across Malawi. Transect walks were conducted to collect data in LNP. Five new atlas records are reported; three were within 40–56 km of the LNP population and two were over 150 km south and north of LNP, respectively. One of the sites is about 66 km from the Lilian's Lovebird population in Luangwa Valley, Zambia. New national records were evidence of the importance of seasonal movements to the species. Lilian's Lovebirds occurred throughout LNP with the highest abundance in the central section. Seasonal movements to areas outside the park were also recorded. A variety of vegetation types were used by the lovebirds, but the strongest habitat associations were with seasonally wet grasslands and not mopane woodlands as would be expected. Thus, conservation efforts should also include these other habitats.
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Keywords: Agapornis lilianae; Lilian's Lovebird; distribution; habitat association; mopane woodland

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Life Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

Publication date: September 2, 2014

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