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Site-Fidelity and Survival Rates of Some Montane Forest Birds in Malawi South-Central Africa

R. J. Dowsett
Biotropica
Vol. 17, No. 2 (Jun., 1985), pp. 145-154
DOI: 10.2307/2388507
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2388507
Page Count: 10
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Site-Fidelity and Survival Rates of Some Montane Forest Birds in Malawi South-Central Africa
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Abstract

From 1972 to 1982, 2030 forest birds of 33 species were banded in a study area on the Nyika Plateau, Malawi/Zambia, in south-central Africa. The movements and survival of these birds, particularly the starred robin Pogonocichla stellata, were monitored during three breeding seasons, 1979-1982. Overall, average movement recorded was 165 m (range 0-3125 m, N = 613). Five species of passerines moved from the largest forest into the smallest patches (about 2.5 km). However, most territorial adults were strictly sedentary, especially during the breeding season, when less than one-third of the movements recorded exceeded the diameter of a territory (N = 320). Some adults held the same territories for up to 10 years, with 39 percent known to be present for at least two consecutive seasons and 19 percent over three years or more (N = 1127). Most species maintained long-term pair bonds, but all female Pogonocichla left the study area in the nonbreeding season and returned regularly to the same territory each year (annual rates of 67-78%, N = 59). Intensive investigation of territories in forests around the main banding area showed that only 1.5 percent (N = 246) of the adult Pogonocichla sampled were banded individuals which had dispersed. Average annual mortality among territorial adults was between 13.2 and 22.2 percent for the four best-studied species (three robins and one monarchine flycatcher). Their expectancy of further life (4.0-7.1 years) agrees with the maximum longevities recorded: four passerine species had individuals which attained 9.7-10.8 years of age (the maximum possible in this study).

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