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The Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus in Senegal and The Gambia: notes on its breeding ecology

Info

Pages
137 – 144

Published
1 August 21

Authors
Bram Piot, Frédéric Bacuez, Bruno Bargain, Clive R. Barlow, Geoff Dobbs, Miguel Lecoq, Paul Robinson

DOI
10.18194/ws.00230

Correspondence
Bram Piot
bram.piot@gmail.com
Ban Vatnak, Vientiane, Laos

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We surveyed potential Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus breeding sites in Senegal and The Gambia during 2011–2019 and reviewed new records alongside historical ones. We provide the first confirmed breeding records in 12 locations, including the first record of successful breeding in The Gambia in 2018, suggesting that the species may be increasing and locally expanding its breeding range. It is presently considered a regular breeding species in a range of coastal wetlands in the region, including both natural and artificial habitats, clustered in four distinct areas in Senegal (the lower Senegal River Delta, the Niayes wetlands around Dakar, the Saloum Delta and the Casamance River) and one site (Pirang) in The Gambia. The breeding population in both countries is estimated to be 150–200 pairs, with the majority of these in Senegal. Differential timing of nesting between northern and southern sites (separated by the Gambia River) is apparent, with northern birds primarily breeding in the latter half of the dry season, and southern birds mostly coinciding with the onset of the rainy season, which likely reflects the marked ecosystem differences between the highly arid Sahel region and the Sudano-Guinean forest zone. The rapid destruction of many wetlands induced by urban development and agro-industrial projects and the effects of climate change in the western Sahel are considered key threats to the species in the region.