Camera trap data reveals the habitat use and activity patterns of a secretive forest bird, Sri Lanka Spurfowl Galloperdix bicalcarata
Keywords:Ground dwelling birds, Phasianidae, habitat use, Camera trapping, Conservation, Occupancy modeling
The use of remotely triggered cameras for studies of bird ecology is uncommon. We used camera trap data from a survey conducted from January 2018 to April 2021, to analyze the habitat use and activity patterns of Sri Lanka Spurfowl Galloperdix bicalcarata which is known as a shy and secretive forest bird endemic to Sri Lanka. Study sites included protected areas situated in dry, wet, and montane zones of the island. Camera traps were placed representatively in the main habitat types of each study site. A total of 104 independent captures of G. bicalcarata were recorded during the study. The highest occupancy was recorded at Sinharaja National Heritage Wilderness Area followed by cloud forests of Horton Plains national park and dry-mixed evergreen forests of Maduru Oya National Park. The activity of G. bicalcarata was highly diurnal and activity levels ranged from 0.250-0.398 at the study sites. Activity peaks of G. bicalcarata occurred in the morning between 0700-1100h. We identified canopy cover, litter cover, litter depth, NDVI as the covariates that positively influenced the habitat occupancy of spurfowl while thick undergrowth and rocky outcrops reduced the occupancy. The findings of this study will be useful for the conservation and management decisions on Sri Lanka spurfowl and habitats that are vital for its survival.
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