Master's Thesis: Taita apalis (Apalis fuscigularis) in Kenya – University of Copenhagen

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Master's Thesis: Taita apalis (Apalis fuscigularis) in Kenya

Field work location

Taita Hills, Kenya

Field work period

Primo November 2017 - ultimo January 2018 (three months)

Background

Photo by Luca Borghesio

The Taita apalis (Apalis fuscigularis) is one of the 10 rarest songbirds in the world with a tiny occupancy of 1.5 km2. They are scattered into four populations at different altitudes in the Taita Hills, and you will be stationed in beautiful countryside settings at 1700m above sea level.

The total population has been in a steady decline since 2001, and major threats towards the Taita apalis are habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, nest predation, human interference and most likely climate change.

The breeding season starts in late October when the long rainy season begins, and continues until the beginning of March. For the past two breeding seasons the breeding success has been higher for populations at higher altitudes than the ones at lower.

The study

This season (16/17) we began to study if the food availability differs between the fragments, if visitation rates of parents bringing food to the nestlings differ between fragments, and if this can be related to differences in breeding success.

Your role

The work includes every-day fieldwork into montane cloud forests and scrublands with many endemic plant and animal species. You will be visiting nests of Taita apalis and deploy camera traps to record the parents' visits to the nest and any predation events. You will also be collecting and identifying invertebrates in all four fragments of Taita apalis every month to assess the food availability during the breeding season.

Supervisors

Associate professor Anders P. Tøttrup
Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate
University of Copenhagen.

Research associate Luca Borghesio
The National Museums of Kenya.

Contact

Rie Jensen (gxk991@alumni.ku.dk) for more information and questions.