Ecological Study of Wattled Crane (Bugeranus Carunculatus, Gmelin 1789) in the Boyo Wetland and Bale Mountains National Park, Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


Ecological Study of Wattled Crane (Bugeranus carunculatus, Gmelin 1789) in the Boyo Wetland of Southern Ethiopia and Afroalpine Ecosystems of Bale Mountains National Park, Southeast Ethiopia Hadis Tadele, PhD Thesis, Addis Ababa University, 2018 Wattled Cranes (Bugeranus carunculatus) are the largest, rarest and most wetland-dependent of African cranes. Ecological information of this African resident species is limited in Ethiopia. This study was carried out in Boyo wetland, wintering habitat and Bale Mountains National Park, breeding habitat from 2015-2017. The aim was to study the diurnal time-activity budget, breeding and feeding ecology, population and distribution as well as the species interaction with local farmers. To collect data on population and distribution, total population count was employed and instantaneous scan sampling technique was used to deal with their daily activity patterns. ANOVA, Chi-Square test and Pearson Correlation were used to investigate differences and relationship parameters. Active breeding season was from September to October with majority (66.7%) of nests being built on islands of alpine lakes. Breeding behavior was influenced by density of alpine lakes (P= 0.000) and availability of food density (P= 0.000) in their breeding territory. Mean clutch size was 1.78±0.15, n=9. The mean egg length, width and weight was 93.11±1.29 mm, 65.07±0.34 mm, 250.69±4.73 g, respectively. Hatching and fledging successes were 37.5% and 100%, respectively in which a strong association was noticed in terms of nest-site fidelity. They forage on 11 plant parts including waste grains, tubers, rhizomes and grass seeds. However, the most preferred food items in the breeding habitats was Koeleria capensis, Romulea fischeri and Commelina baghalensis which have tubers. Foraging behavior was most prevalent accounting to 39.3% of the diurnal time budget followed by locomotion (20%) and the rest was allocated for resting, vigilance and comfort movement. A population of 319 individuals was estimated in the Central Rift Valley area, with a new population discovery (169 individuals) in Melka Wakena hydroelectric dam. Majority of local farmers in Boyo wetland had positive attitude to the wetland. However, 76.8% of them perceived Wattled Cranes as a pest animal causing high crop damage. This species needs conservation concern as it selectively occupies a unique feeding niche and breeding site, which are being under threat due to habitat degradation.



Attitude, Breeding, Distribution, Egg, Habitat Degradation, Nest and Wetland