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Impact of Feeding Habits on Population Ecology and Breeding Biology of Grey Francolin (Francolinus pondicerianus) in District Bhakkar, Punjab, Pakistan

Impact of Feeding Habits on Population Ecology and Breeding Biology of Grey Francolin (Francolinus pondicerianus) in District Bhakkar, Punjab, Pakistan

Aftab Raza Khan1, Azhar Abbas Khan2*, Javed Iqbal3, Arif Muhammad Khan4, Zeshan Hassan2, Hafiz Muhammad Aatif2 and Umbreen Shahzad2

1Department of Biological Sciences, Government Post Graduate College, Bhakkar, Pakistan.
2College of Agriculture, Bahauddin Zakariyya University, Bahadur Campus Layyah, Pakistan.
3Department of Biological Sciences, Government Degree College, Mankera, Pakistan.
4Department of Biotechnology, University of Sargodha Main-Campus, Sargodha, Pakistan.

*      Corresponding author: drkupchani@bzu.edu.pk

ABSTRACT

Human-mediated wildlife reshuffling has raised concerns over the conservation of insects and predatory birds. Globally the population of grey francolin Francolinus pondicerianus is the Least Concern in the Red List of Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). However, its population has been significantly reduced in the desert ecosystem of Bhakkar (Punjab) Pakistan. The study was conducted to study the population ecology and breeding biology in relation to feeding habits of grey francolin in 16 different stands in Bhakkar, Punjab, Pakistan. The line transect data suggested grey francolin presence in 15 out of 16 stands (93.75%). An average density of grey francolins 13.01±6.39/km2 varying between 0.30±0.23 and 1.97±0.65/ km2 was recorded in different stands. Sex ratio of grey francolins (1.41:1) was skewed towards males. The current data on overall dispersion index of 2.1±0.43 per km2 in different calendar months reflected a clumped dispersion. Sixty crops of adult birds were analyzed for food contents in different seasons. Leaves, seeds and arthropods were highly consumed food contents in all seasons. Descriptive data analysis indicated a statistically significant value of p ˂ 0.05 between arthropod abundance and volume of arthropods in the diet of both adults and juveniles. Chi-square test (χ2) reflected a positive relationship between adult crop contents and different calendar months and stands. The data regarding breeding biology exhibited mean incubation period, clutch size and egg weight of 16.67±1.45, 4.0±0.58, 9.56±0.33 in study (stand 12) and 13.60±0.46, 6.4±0.46, 11.44±0.58 in control area (stand 16) respectively. There was a positive trend of threat factors with density and dispersion index (p ˂ 0.05). The results indicated that, seasonal variations affected the feeding habits of grey francolin, which caused fluctuation in density and dispersion index of this species. Future studies are also warranted to evaluate the impact of injudicious use of pesticides on predatory performance of these birds against a wide range of arthropods including grasshoppers, crickets and locusts.
 

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Pakistan Journal of Zoology

October

Vol. 53, Iss. 5, Pages 1603-2000

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