Survey Fails To Find Egret Breeding Sites

A year-long survey of the 55,000km2 Okavango Delta has failed to turn up current breeding sites for the vulnerable bird species, the slaty egret. BirdLife Botswana reports that the birds' major historical breeding sites have been destroyed by fire and changes in the water regime in the delta and that no new breeding sites have been located. This is of concern as the delta is the principal home of the slaty egret.

Threats to the egret include increased accessibility and disturbance to the reedbeds where it nests by cutters and tourists, loss of some feeding areas and destruction of habitat by fire.

Elephants are also increasingly impacting on the reedbeds, further reducing potential breeding grounds. BirdLife Botswana hopes to continue surveying the delta to find breeding sites, but will be drawing up an action plan to conserve the bird in collaboration with the Botswana department of wildlife and national parks.

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