Factors affecting nest site selection of marabou storks in selected sites around Kampala
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The Marabou Stork is a wide-spread scavenger in Sub-Saharan savannas which is often closely associated with humans, even breeding in urban environments such as Kampala. Their original habitat was mainly savannas,where they foraged on carcasses of large mammals at drying ponds and around bush fires. Marabou storks were previously reported to nest in very high strong trees and close to fishing villages and were not as common in the urban centers as they are now. Over the years, there has been a rapid increase in the rates of urbanization leading to the loss of habitat, fragmentation, deterioration by humans and huge amounts of garbage in the urban centers. However, increased urbanization has led to rapid loss in the number of suitable trees for nesting by the Marabou Storks around the urban centers in turn affecting the breeding success of Marabous which is bound to affect their population. In this study, I investigated the factors affecting the nest site selection of the Marabou stork in the Kampala area given the rapid loss of tree cover and urbanization. The main objective of this study was to map the nesting areas of the marabou stork, estimate the number of nests within the Kampala area and to investigate the factors affecting nest site selection in those areas. The study was implemented through observation and counting of nests using binoculars and mapping of nesting sites. The representative elements from the population was selected depending on the previous nesting activities of the Marabou Storks. Different factors were investigated to determine the nest site selection of the Marabou storks. The study was conducted in Makerere University and areas in Kampala. A total of 1006 nests from 190 nesting trees were recorded from 50 sites surveyed around Kampala and Makerere Area. Nesting activity was most abundant in the Makerere Area with nesting trees mostly along primary roads. All the nests were in the vicinity of human settlement and close to public roads. Further study should be conducted with consideration of other parameters and also different sites in order to find out the factors that affect nest site selection of Marabou Storks.