A study was conducted in Menz-Guassa Community Conservation Area (MGCCA) from November 2016 to March 2017, to assess the diversity, distribution and habitat association of birds. Three habitat types including forest, grassland, and moorland habitats were identified based on their vegetation composition. Point count method in Eucalyptus and Juniperus forest, and line transect technique in grassland and moorland habitats were used to study avian diversity. Data were collected in the early morning (6:30 to 9:30 a.m.) and late afternoon (4:30 to 7:00 p.m.) when the activities of birds were prominent. Species diversity and evenness was given in terms of Shannon-Weaver diversity Index. A total of 86 avian species belonging to 14 orders and 35 families were identified. The identified areas are rich with seven (8.14%) endemic bird species namely; abyssinian catbird (Parophasma galinieri), abyssinian longclaw (Macronyx flavicollis), ankober serin (Crithagra ankoberensis), black-headed siskin (Serinus nigriceps), blue-winged goose (Cyanochen cyanoptera), moorland francolin (Scleroptlia psilolaema), spot-breasted plover (Vanellus melanocephalus), and five (5.81%) near-endemic bird species including rouget's rail (Rougetius rougetii), wattled ibis (Bostrychia carunculata), white-collared pigeon (Columba albitorques), thick-billed raven (Corvus crassirostris), and white-winged cliff chat (Myrmecocichla semirufa). Avian diversity was high in moorland (H’=4.57) and low in grassland (H’=3.42) habitats. The highest even distribution of birds was recorded in the forest habitats and the lowest in grassland habitats with E=0.75 and E= 0.59 values respectively. Families Accipitridae, Apodidae, Columbidae, Corvidae, Fringillidae, Motacillidae, Muscicapidae and Turdidae were commonly distributed in all habitats, however the highest number of avian family was encountered in Moorland (15 families) and lowest (9 families) in Forest habitats. The area supported variety of avian species with high endemics and habitat specifics. Conservation of the area is vital for habitat restricted and endemic birds. Further ecological investigation is suggested in the seasonal abundance of birds, and population dynamics of wildlife for biodiversity conservation and ecotourism.
Key words: Afro-alpine, community conservation area, diversity, habitat association, Guassa.
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