Species Richness and Composition of Bird Community in Abalo-Gunacho Forest, Southern Ethiopia


  • Addisu Asefa Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority


Abalo-Gunacho forest, Assemblage/guild composition, Important bird area, Rarefaction, Species richness, Timed-Species Count


This paper presents results of avifaunal survey made in Abalo-Gunacho forest, southern Ethiopia, in May 2014 to determine the species richness and to examine guild composition of bird community of the forest. Birds were surveyed using Timed-Species Count technique along eight randomly selected transects. Fifty-one species were observed during the survey period, while Chao 2 species richness estimator predicted that the total number of species pool of the forest’s bird community would be 55 species, suggesting that only few species were missed. This species pool comprises of seven (near) endemic species and ten highland biome- and six Somali-Masai-restricted species, indicating that this forest has significant importance for bird conservation. Based on mean values of the relative abundance index scores obtained from the eight transects, over half of the species recorded were rare. At guild level, bird community of this forest is dominated by those considered to be forest (i.e., dense and woodland forests) species guild, which accounted for about three-fourth of the total species, and by insectivore feeding guild [33 species (65%)]. As these two guilds are known to be very sensitive to forest conversion, their dominance in the present study area may reflect that this forest is relatively in a good condition. In general, regardless of some recently emerging threats (such as cultivation, settlement and gold mining), Abalo-Gunacho forest may represent one of the forest patches in the country where the original natural Moist Evergreen Tropical Forest habitats and their associated biota are still retained. However, urgent conservation measures are required in order to ensure the long-term persistence of this forest and its associated avifauna.