The importance of roads and road verges for raptors and crows in the Succulent and Nama-Karoo, South Africa

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2003
Authors:Dean, WRJ, Milton, SJ
Journal:Ostrich
Volume:74
Issue:3-4
Date Published:2003
ISBN Number:0030-6525
Keywords:Accipiter, Accipiter gentilis, Accipitridae, Africa, Buteo, Buteo buteo, Buteo rufofuscus, Corvidae, Corvus, Corvus corone, Falconidae, Melierax, Melierax canorus, Melierax musicus, Milvus, Milvus aegyptius, Milvus korschun, Milvus migrans, South Africa
Abstract:The behaviour and activities of 6 458 raptors (Accipitridae and Falconidae) and 1 947 Corvidae in the Karoo, South Africa, were recorded during the period January 1988 to June 2000 (n = 208 surveys) over a total distance of 90 012km. A significantly larger proportion of raptors and corvids were recorded foraging in road verges, or flying along roads than foraging or flying over rangelands. About 21% of all observations of crows feeding or foraging were associated with road-kills, whereas less than 2% of observations of feeding and foraging Accipitridae and Falconidae were associated with road-kills. The most frequent Accipitridae feeding on road-kills were Pale Chanting Goshawk (Melierax canorus), Yellow-billed Kite (Milvus migrans parasitus) and Jackal Buzzard (Buteo rufofuscus). There was no seasonal pattern in the number of crows feeding on roadkills, although there was a trend for more mammals to be killed on the roads, and thus more available food, in winter (June). It is likely that Accipitridae and Falconidae are attracted to roads by the availability of perches and the relatively productive road verges rather than the availability of road-killed animals, whereas crows may be attracted by road-kills as well.The behaviour and activities of 6 458 raptors (Accipitridae and Falconidae) and 1 947 Corvidae in the Karoo, South Africa, were recorded during the period January 1988 to June 2000 (n = 208 surveys) over a total distance of 90 012km. A significantly larger proportion of raptors and corvids were recorded foraging in road verges, or flying along roads than foraging or flying over rangelands. About 21% of all observations of crows feeding or foraging were associated with road-kills, whereas less than 2% of observations of feeding and foraging Accipitridae and Falconidae were associated with road-kills. The most frequent Accipitridae feeding on road-kills were Pale Chanting Goshawk (Melierax canorus), Yellow-billed Kite (Milvus migrans parasitus) and Jackal Buzzard (Buteo rufofuscus). There was no seasonal pattern in the number of crows feeding on roadkills, although there was a trend for more mammals to be killed on the roads, and thus more available food, in winter (June). It is likely that Accipitridae and Falconidae are attracted to roads by the availability of perches and the relatively productive road verges rather than the availability of road-killed animals, whereas crows may be attracted by road-kills as well.
URL:http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.2989/00306520309485391
Short Title:Ostrich
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