Waterbirds Special Issue

Posted 5 February 2020 by under Announcements & Notices • Journal: Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology
Waterbirds Special Issue

The remarkable research that is being undertaken on African waterbirds and the continued need to understand the unique avifauna of these aquatic environments is highlighted in Volume 90, issue 4 of Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology.

The special issue, titled, ‘Waterbirds – Birds of the African aquatic environments’ contains articles that are grouped largely into those focused on waterbirds of inland aquatic environments (deSouza et al. 2019; Gula et al. 2019; D’Urban Jackson et al. 2019; Lee et al. 2019; Neb et al. 2019 ) and those focused on waterbirds in coastal and marine environments (Brown et al. 2019; Dyer et al. 2019; Sherley et al. 2019; Tree et al. 2019; Vanstreels et al. 2019). 

Among the studies concentrating on inland waterbirds is one of the first attempts to quantify the long-suspected hybridisation between invasive Mallard Duck Anas platyrhynchos and native Yellow-billed Duck A. undulata in South Africa (de Souza et al. 2019). De Souza et al. (2019) used mitochondrial DNA to show that there is little evidence of hybridisation between these two duck species.

Lee et al. (2019) is a further example investigating emerging threats to inland waterbirds, this time in the form of contaminated water from hydraulic fracturing for shale gas extraction. Based on an extensive trait analysis, Lee et al. (2019) estimated that between 60 and 141 Karoo bird species could be exposed to this contaminated water, stressing the urgent need to consider mitigation measures for this developing threat.

Several contributions to this special issue make use of long-term datasets to explore relevant spatial and temporal trends in seabird diet, population status and movement ecology (Dyer et al. 2019; Sherley et al. 2019; Tree et al. 2019).

While Dr. Chevonne Reynolds was editing this special issue, she could not help but reflect on the uncertain future faced by many waterbird species in Africa. Most of the submissions either featured a threatened waterbird species or highlighted key threats to waterbirds and their habitats. ‘What does give one a glimmer of hope is that timely and thoughtful interventions can have profound outcomes for our waterbird species, as illustrated by the success story of the African Black Oystercatcher.’

This special issue provides a rich and varied assortment of research providing fundamental data for addressing such issues in the conservation of African waterbirds. The special issue is available to read at no cost until the end of March 2020 here

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