During a twenty five days trip in Uganda a brief faunistic survey of birds, mammals and reptiles was performed. Altogether 380 bird species were observed in six National Parks and some other protected areas in the summer of 2012. From these 64 bird species are discussed here selected according the following criteria: rarity, occurrence in a new habitat or geographic area, and emergence of novel breeding phenological data of certain species. Our new records of House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) along the Kazinga Channel (between Lake Edward and Lake George) are outside the current distribution range of the species. The House sparrow expanded its area about 800 km toward west from their first record in Nairobi in 1992. Our new records on White-tailed Ant-thrush (Neocossyphus poensis), Red-tailed Ant-thrush (Neocossyphus rufus), Papyrus Yellow Warbler (Chloropeta gracilirostris), Shelley’s Rufous Sparrow (Passer shelley) and Streaky Seedeater (Serinus striolatus) also require the correction of distribution maps of this species in Uganda. In addition we give some remarks on the breeding phenology of Mountain Wagtail (Motacilla clara), Cassin’s Grey Flycatcher (Muscicapa cassini) and Northern Red Bishop (Euplectes franciscanus). Our recent observational data of African Skimmer (Rynchops flavirostris) may have importance for the Bonn Convention. These observations might be important from conservation and ecotouristic point of views
We investigated habitat preference of Common Sandpipers as part of a monitoring program in the Őrség National Park, Hungary. Field observations were conducted during the summers between 2008 and 2012 along a 47-km long section of the River Rába. During the observations we recorded the number and location of birds on the river bank. We divided the studied area into 1 km long sections and measured the proportion of the visually distinguishable habitat types (water, low gravel and sand bank, vegetation and degraded area) from a digitalized map. Furthermore, we recorded the number of the low banks and the number of bends of the river within each section, as well as the sections’ distance from the closest hydroelectric power plants and human settlements. In 2012 we also performed a detailed habitat mapping, recording the proportion of the vegetation types along the river bank and the number of fishing spots, embankment strengthenings and gravel banks. We tested the correlations between these habitat variables and number of birds present in the river sections. Our results show that Common Sandpipers were observed more frequently in locations which have (1) larger number and area of low gravel and sand banks, (2) less dense vegetation, and (3) lower proportion of degraded habitats. These findings can be taken into account in the conservation management of River Rába
The Hoopoe is a widespread species in Hungary with the strongest populations on the Great plains. The fact that in 2015 it became ‛The Bird of the Year’ in Hungary offers the possibility to summarise the information about the distribution, population size, dispersion, migration as well as the nature conservation status of the Hoopoe population breeding in Hungary. In the period of 1999–2014 the number of breeding pairs and trend of population level was estimated based on the Common Bird Census database. The population size was estimated as 13,500–17,500 pairs with a stable trend (slope=−1.3%, SE=2.5%) over 1999–2014. There is very limited information on migration from bird ringing, only 8 recoveries between 1928–1963 indicate, that the Hungarian population is migrating on a south-southeast direction in autumn, wintering in the eastern parts of the Sahel, possibly in Chad and Sudan and migrates back in spring following a loop migration pattern further to the east. The main conservation issues are agricultural intensification impacting feeding possibilities, lack of nesting cavities and hunting during migration.
The Saker Falcon is a falconid raptor species with Palearctic distribution. It has never been a common bird in Hungary, now there are cc. 220-230 nesting pairs within the country borders. Currently total world population is cc. 19 000-34 000 individuals. Its taxonomic status is complicated. Two subspecies are distinguished (Falco c. cherrug and Falco c. milvipes); however, molecular data does not support this split. Phylogeny of the species is also not clarified, similarly to closely related raptors. There are many factors threatening the population of the Saker. One of these factors is the occurrence of the hybrid falcons. By molecular investigations more data can be gained, that could be useful in practical conservation, too.
In the Golyófogó Valley near Albertirsa natural erosion created near vertical walls in the loess deposited in the last glacial period, offering natural nesting sites for the European Bee-eater. Later the deeply cut coach roads, the pits of loess extraction and the construction works of the motorway nearby created further man-made banks. Hence by the 1970-ies a well-established colony bred here, but by the beginning of the 21st century, disturbance and the demise of vertical banks led to a serious reduction in the number of breeding pairs. The purchase of 5-hectare loess grassland plot and the adjacent loess bank, and later its reconstruction led to an unprecedented growth in the number of Bee-eaters. From 2010 the number of breeding pairs exceeded 200 every year. Not only the Bee-eater colony, but also the natural vegetation and the botanical values of the area are managed to maintain the population of rare and protected element of the local flora and fauna.
The Barn Owl (Tyto alba) bred in 15 UTM squares (75%, n = 20) of the Kazanlak Valley (central south Bulgaria) at 33 localities (55% confirmed, 12% probable and 33% possible breeding). Its distribution in the Valley was found to be five times larger and its population size ten times greater during our study period than previously thought. Evidence of one to five breeding localities (mean 2.2±1.3) was detected in each occupied UTM square. A breeding density of 4.1 bp/100 km2 was close to the average in Central Europe. Nests inside or on metal frames and ducts were typical in the region and gave possibility for its successful breeding in most of the habitable buildings. The Barn Owls were breeding mainly in poorly maintained and abandoned buildings whose supply has not decreased markedly since the agricultural restoration started in Bulgaria after it joined the European Union and intensive industrial agriculture has resumed with EU support. Currently, it appears that Barn Owl is not threatened by a ‘housing shortageʼ over the next decade.
In Hungary, the aridification primarily affects the Great Hungarian Plain, most specifically the “Homokhátság” area which is part of the Danube-Tisza Interfluve. On the basis of our experience gained in the past 15 years, we would like to give an insight into the complex problems of this rural region. Our starting point is the aridification process and water scarcity which are characteristic features of this area for the last century. We investigate the related problems in land use management such as unfavourable land use and vegetation changes and the challenges in the local economy and social sustainability. In this respect we introduce the emerging issues in agriculture, forestry and nature conservation which may be relevant in European context too. We have discovered specific factors related to the devaluation of the rural environment and found that significant part of the unfavourable phenomena can be explained by the combined effect of climatic changes, improper land use and inappropriate environmental management. Based on our findings we outline a possible regional pathway for a sustainable rural development.
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