The expansion of urban landscape causes shift in biodiversity. This study aimed to identify the traits that enable bird species to become urban exploiters i.e. to colonize and become abundant in highly urbanized areas. Bird species were identified in point counts without distance estimation, in three habitats: urban area, residential area, and agricultural area. Twelve sampling sites were selected in well-defined habitats in Mardan district. Bird species traits were taken from field observations and published literature. The trend and variation in traits was recorded along a sampled gradient of decreasing urbanization from urban area to agricultural area within district Mardan. These traits were compared among urban exploiters, adopters and avoiders. Thirty-five species were recorded out of which 9 species were urban exploiters, 11 species were urban adopters and 15 species urban avoiders. Urban exploiters were significantly (P<0.05) more gregarious than adopters and avoiders. Significant (P<0.05) differences were recorded in feeding behavior, such that, with increasing urbanization the proportion of omnivorous and granivorous species increased while the proportion of species feeding on invertebrates declined. It is concluded that exploitation of urban areas by some species depends on the combination of traits such as gregarious behavior, diet, sedentariness and specific nesting sites.
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