Aspects of breeding biology of the marabou stork Leptoptilos crumeniferus in Makerere University campus, Uganda.
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The Marabou Stork (Leptoptilos crumeniferus) is a wide- spread scavenger in Sub-Saharan savannas which is often closely associated with humans. Their original habitat was mainly savannas, where they foraged on carcasses of large mammals at drying pond sand around bush fires. The breeding biology of this species has been studied in some detail in Uganda. Marabou storks were previously reported to nest in very tall, large trees and were not as common in the urban centers as they are now. With time, there has been a rapid increase in the rate 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 preferred trees for nesting in Makerere University campus despite the fact that it has a number of trees in which these birds nest, thus the area has a viable breeding population. The main objective of this study was to determine the tree species used for nesting, map the preferred trees and estimate the number of breeding population within the Makerere university using total count method. Through the study, a total of 323 nests from 97 nesting trees were recorded from Makerere University so breeding population is 646 marabous with Afrocarpus gracilior, Mangifera indica, Terminalia ssp, Jacaranda, Ficus natalensis and Milica excelsa being most preferred trees for nesting. Almost all the nesting trees 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.