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Population Explosion and Behavioural Changes of Opportunist Wild Avifauna at a Landfill at Gujranwala in Northeastern Punjab: A Baseline Deviation Study

Population Explosion and Behavioural Changes of Opportunist Wild Avifauna at a Landfill at Gujranwala in Northeastern Punjab: A Baseline Deviation Study

Zunaira Noreen* and Khawar Sultan

Department of Environmental Sciences, The University of Lahore, Defence Road, Lahore, Pakistan

*      Corresponding author: zunaira.norin@gmail.com

ABSTRACT

Urbanization and associated accumulation of solid waste at landfills is attracting large numbers of wild avifauna for food subsidies and transforming landfills into new habitats by changing the wild profile of native species. This study aims to establish the baseline situation of avian diversity and abundance on various land uses including the landfill at Gujranwala in northeastern Punjab, Pakistan, and understanding the impact of urban solid waste in changing bird behavior. Field observations in a variety of land uses (agriculture, forest, lake, urban and landfill) in summer 2018 using the point count method for bird census determined the baseline for 56 species (birds/10 min) indicating a significant change in native avian composition. PCA analysis showed four clusters based on the nature of habitat and species behavior. Agriculture land was found to be the highest (H’= 3.394) and landfill the lowest (H’= 1.414) in biodiversity. However, landfill site registered the most number of birds (>9000). Among twenty species recorded at the landfill, four species viz., house crow, common myna, grey-throated martin and bank myna, recorded >95% of the total population of birds. Species evenness was the highest for lake site (E= 0.938) indicating the most balanced type of ecosystem. Sparrows were found only in urban areas. Two opportunist species (house crow and common myna) were found to be the most successful in exploiting available resources. Foraging of birds in layers with aggressive species feeding first and development of new learning mechanisms pointed to the change in bird behavior at the landfill. This work highlights the need for a new research field ‘Landfill Ecology’ to study the impact of landfill on biota including avian, in a time when biodiversity loss is the hottest global issue.
 

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Pakistan Journal of Zoology

October

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

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