Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Managing human disturbance: factors influencing flight-initiation distance of birds in a West African nature reserve

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access Status

  • Embargoed (until 13/12/18)

Author(s)

Bukola Braimoh, Soladoye Iwajomo, Mark Wilson, Adams Chaskda, Afan Ajang, Will Cresswell

School/Research organisations

Abstract

Escape behaviour in response to perceived predators can be employed as a guide when designating protected areas around sensitive bird species to minimize the impact of human disturbance. A key measure of escape response is flight–initiation distance (FID), the distance at which a prey animal initiates its escape when approached by a potential predator. We tested the predictions of optimal escape theory by determining the factors that influence FID of bird species in a Nigerian reserved area and its surrounding habitats and so the potential utility of FID in managing human disturbance on birds, for the first time within a West African context. We tested how FID varied with group size, proximity to vegetation acting as protective cover, levels of human use, and survival rate, and whether these relationships varied by species. We collected 504 FIDs for seven bird species in Amurum Forest Reserve and its surrounding habitats (Jos, Nigeria). FID was lower in larger groups and when species were closer to protective cover. FID was lower outside of the protected area because animals in sites with higher levels of human presence and use may become habituated. FID was higher for species with higher survival, being consistent with predictions from life history theory. Overall, birds perceived humans as a potential threat and responded in accordance to the predictions of optimal escape theory, with FID increasing with increased cost of staying. Reserve managers in Africa could use species and context specific FIDs to designate buffer distances for the protection of wildlife from human disturbance.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-69
Number of pages11
JournalOstrich
Volume89
Issue number1
Early online date13 Dec 2017
DOIs
StatePublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • Human disturbance, Setback distance, Escape distance, Flight-initiation distance, Conservation buffer

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Weak breeding seasonality of a songbird in a seasonally arid tropical environment arises from individual flexibility and strongly seasonal moult

    Nwaogu, C. J., Tieleman, B. I. & Cresswell, W. 22 Sep 2018 In : Ibis. Early View, 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Temperature and aridity determine body size conformity to Bergmann’s rule independent of latitudinal differences in a tropical environment

    Nwaogu, C. J., Tieleman, B. I., Bitrus, K. & Cresswell, W. R. L. 27 Jun 2018 In : Journal of Ornithology. First Online, 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Spring migration strategies of Whinchat Saxicola rubetra when successfully crossing potential barriers of the Sahara and the Mediterranean Sea

    Blackburn, E., Burgess, M., Freeman, B., Risely, A., Izang, A., Ivande, S., Hewson, C. & Cresswell, W. 2 May 2018 In : Ibis. Early View

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Population consequences of migratory variability differ between flyways

    Patchett, R., Finch, T. & Cresswell, W. 23 Apr 2018 In : Current Biology. 28, 8, p. R340-R341

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. The continuing lack of ornithological research capacity in almost all of West Africa

    Cresswell, W. 2018 In : Ostrich. 89, 2, p. 123-129 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Survival rates in West African savanna birds

    Stevens, M. C., Ottosson, U., McGregor, R. M., Brandt, M. & Cresswell, W. 2013 In : Ostrich. 84, 1, p. 11-25

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Ostrich (Journal)

    Cresswell, W. (Reviewer)
    10 Nov 2017

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPeer review of manuscripts

ID: 251028811