Ornis Hungarica. vol.29(1). (2021) p.20-32.
Influence of habitat features of urban streetscapes on richness and abundance of avian species
In human-dominated landscapes, roads are known to negatively influence birds causing decline in species richness, as well as reduction in the number of avian species. However, linear stretches of green spaces formed by roadside plantations in urban streetscapes can support diverse avian communities. In spite of being an integral habitat feature of urban areas, there is a clear paucity of studies on avian diversity in urban streetscapes. The present study was carried out in Kolkata, where data on avian species richness and abundance was collected from 16 randomly placed belt transects (replicates), each of 500 m length and 20 m width, on different major roads throughout the study area keeping a minimum gap of 200 m between adjacent transects to avoid data overlapping. Each of these transects were traversed on foot twice in a month from January to March 2017 during days with calm weather conditions. We recorded 31 species of birds belonging to 8 orders and 19 families, of which maximum species belonged to the order Passeriformes (13 species). We found that both abundance and species richness of birds in transects with higher number of trees (78±4.1 individuals and 19.55±1.703 species of birds) were significantly higher than transects with fewer trees (53.74±2.5 individuals and 9.5±0.789 species of birds). Amongst various habitat features along these streetscapes, the total number of trees positively influenced both species richness (GLMM: F1, 90=14.485, P<0.05) and abundance of birds (GLMM: F1, 90=8.081, P<0.05). However, the other land use variables (i.e. number of bushes, waterbodies, markets and buildings) neither influenced the abundance of birds nor the species richness. Our findings can be useful for urban development to perceive the importance of various habitat features in urban streetscapes in sustaining avian diversity.