Birds are among the best known parts of the earth’s biodiversity. This study was conducted in three selected church forests located in different agroclimate zones (Kola, Weyna Dega and Dega) in Tigray region, Northern Ethiopia to investigate the community composition and abundance of residential birds. Data collection was carried out between November 2011 and March 2012 for a period of five months, two days in a month for each study site for a total of 30 days. Line transects and point count techniques were employed. Observation on birds was taken twice a day (in the early morning from 06:00 to 09:30 h and late in the afternoon from 16:30 to 18:30 h for a total of six hours in a day. A total of 65 bird species were recorded. Of the recorded bird species, 5 were endemic to Ethiopia. Diversity and community similarity of birds were calculated using the Shannon–Weiner diversity index and Sorenson’s similarity index respectively. The mean bird species diversity was highest in Giorgis Church forest (H'=3.42) and lowest in Michael Church forest (H'=2.42). A significant difference in diversity of birds between Giorgis and Michael church forests (t=7.707, n=5, p<0.05), Giorgis and Endakidanemeheret Church forests (t=3.492, n=5, p<0.05) was observed while no significant difference was observed in diversity of birds between Michael and Endakidanemeheret Church forests (t=-0.361, n=5, p=0.737). More bird species evenness (1.08) was observed in Giorgis Church forest and low in Endakidanemeheret Church forest (0.88). The bird community similarity of the three church forests were very small (Css=0.11).
Key words: Abundance, birds, church forests, Dega, diversity, kola, plants, species richness, Weyna Dega.
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