Survival and population dynamics of the Marabou Stork in an isolated population, Swaziland

Ara Monadjem, Adam Kane, Andre Botha, Desire Dalton, Antoinette Kotze

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Abstract

Investigating the ecology of long lived birds is particularly challenging owing to the time scales involved. Here an analysis is
presented of a long term study of the survival and population dynamics of the marabou stork (Leptoptilos crumeniferus), a
wide ranging scavenging bird from Sub-Saharan Africa. Using resightings data of tagged nestlings and free flying birds we
show that the stork population can be divided into three general life stages with unique survival probabilities and
fecundities. Fecundity of the storks is inversely related to rainfall during their breeding season. Corroborative evidence for a
metapopulation structure is discussed highlighting the impact of the Swaziland birds on the ecology of the species in the
broader region. The importance of tag loss or illegibility over time is highlighted. Clearly, any attempt at conserving a
species will require a detailed understanding of its population structure, of the sort examined here.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume7
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sep 2012

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