Population trends of resident and migrant West African bird species monitored over an 18-year period in central Nigeria

Joy Akpanta Ishong, Joseph K Afrifa, Soladoye B Iwajomo, Justus P Deikumah, Samuel T Ivande, Will Cresswell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Almost no systematic monitoring of bird population trends occurs in West Africa, despite rapid human population increase, habitat change, and climate change, making conservation planning problematic. We monitored bird population trends using constant-effort mist netting, in a newly protected area (Amurum Forest Reserve) on the outskirts of Jos, central Nigeria, from 2002 to 2019. We modelled the 18-year changes in trends of 10 Palearctic migrant and 41 common resident bird species and related this to any changes in annual environmental site quality using NDVI and rainfall data. The populations of most bird species were stable; 30% of migrants and 7% of residents increased, while 10% of migrants and 29% of residents declined moderately. Primary productivity, measured by NDVI, increased, and rainfall pattern was stable, suggesting that environmental conditions at the site improved slightly during the period. However, only a few species showed significant correlations of population trends with NDVI and rainfall. Overall, our results suggest that population changes were locally similar for both the Afro-Palearctic and resident bird species, being reasonably stable or increasing—although perhaps this reflected the fact that the monitoring was done within a newly protected area, which at present represents the best habitat in the wider locality. Those species that declined were mostly associated with open, grassland areas, which will have decreased as anthropogenic influences were reduced at the study site. Though we only monitored one site, the results are encouraging in that simple protection of a small habitat fragment (∼300 ha) in Nigeria yielded generally positive population benefits for both resident and Palearctic migrant species.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
VolumeLatest Article
Early online date13 Jul 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Jul 2022


  • Afro-Palearctic migratory birds
  • Afrotropical birds
  • Amurum Forest Reserve
  • Important Bird Area
  • NDVI
  • Non-breeding site
  • Stopover site


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