Changes in the waterbird community of the Parc National du Banc d’Arguin, Mauritania, 1980–2017

Thomas Oudman, Hans Schekkerman, Amadou Kidee, Marc Van Roomen, Mohamed Camara, Cor Smit, Job Ten Horn, Theunis Piersma, El-Hacen Mohamed El-Hacen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Parc National du Banc d’Arguin in Mauritania hosts the largest concentrations of coastal waterbirds along the East Atlantic Flyway. In spite of this importance, a review of the changes in the numbers of waterbirds in the area is lacking since the first complete count in 1980. Here we analysed the seven complete waterbird counts made since then, and the additional yearly counts made in one subunit (Iwik region) since 2003.We present evidence for changes in the community composition of waterbirds over the past four decades. Total waterbird numbers showed a decrease between 1980 and 2017, with only Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus showing a significant
increase in numbers. Five species showed significant declines: Long-tailed Cormorant Phalacrocorax africanus, Red Knot Calidris canutus, Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica, Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata, and Western Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus. In the remaining species, the variation in numbers between counts was too large, and the number of complete counts too small, for trends to be detected. The yearly counts at Iwik region also showed sharp decreases in the numbers of Red Knot, Bar-tailed Godwit, and Marsh Harrier, but not of Long-tailed Cormorant and Eurasian Curlew. A multivariate analysis revealed a significant effect of year on species composition, which was caused mainly by changes in the species depending on the intertidal mudflats for feeding (generally in decline) vs. the species depending on fish and crustaceans in the sublittoral and offshore zones (often showing increases).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)618-633
JournalBird Conservation International
Volume30
Issue number4
Early online date14 Jan 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Keywords

  • banc-darguin
  • bird census
  • global change
  • east atlantic flyways
  • NMDS
  • population decline
  • shorebirds
  • waterbird community

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