Ardea
Official journal of the Netherlands Ornithologists' Union

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Scholte P. (2006) Waterbird recovery in Waza-Logone (Cameroon), resulting from increased rainfall, floodplain rehabilitation and colony protection. ARDEA 94 (1): 109-125
The impact of reflooding of a desiccated floodplain on waterbirds in North Cameroon was monitored, using January counts in 19922000. Bird numbers in the dry season increased from 60 000 to 105 000, whereas the number of species surpassing international 1% criteria doubled from 6 to 12. The increase in Anatidae (ducks and geese) corresponds to their recovery in West Africa following the droughts in the 1980s. The increase in especially Ciconiiformes (storks, herons, egrets and ibis) in Waza-Logone was not paralleled by similar trends in other West African floodplains, suggesting that floodplain rehabilitation has played an important role. The limited increase of the large piscivorous Marabou Stork Leptoptilos crumeniferus, Yellow-billed Stork Mycteria ibis and Pink-backed Pelican Pelecanus rufescens is associated with repeated destruction of their breeding colonies, possibly leading to their decline as elsewhere in West Africa. In contrast, a Black-headed Heron Ardea melanocephala colony increased from 750 to 2500 nests in 19932003. This exceptional colony size, a multiple of the next largest known colony, implies that besides improved habitat due to reflooding, protection also played a vital role. The increase in waterbirds in Waza-Logone is due to a combination of factors: improved rainfall (especially Anatidae), floodplain rehabilitation (especially omnivorous Ciconiiformes), and protection measures (some Afrotropical Ciconiiformes).


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