A Comparison of Avian Diversity in Aquatic Environs of Kariba and the Zambezi River, Zimbabwe

Pioneer Taashwa Gamundani, Tafadzwa Moyo


Avifauna communities in three sections of the Zambezi Valley were compared using species richness, Czekanowski Coeffient, Simpson’s Index and evenness. The study covered three sections of the Zambezi Valley namely: (i) Zambezi River upstream of Lake Kariba whose flow regime and habitats were presumed not altered by construction of Lake Kariba; (ii) section of Lake Kariba situated within the hinterlands of Kariba Town which was characterised by human settlements and high anthropogenic activities; and (iii) Zambezi River downstream of Lake Kariba whose flow regime and habitats were altered by construction of Lake Kariba. Surveys involved distance sampling point count method to establish avian composition, and species relative abundances in habitats. Czekanowski Coefficient showed low similarity (Czekanowski Coefficient < 45%) in avian community composition between sections of the Zambezi Valley. Aquatic avian species diversity was highest within the hinterlands of Kariba Town than in lotic habitats of the Zambezi River. Results showed significant differences (p<0.05; One way ANOVA) in species richness, species diversity and evenness among the three sections of the Zambezi Valley. Tukey’s pairwise comparisons showed significant differences (p<0.05) in species richness between sections of the Zambezi Valley. Tukey’s pairwise comparison tests also showed significant difference (p<0.05) in species diversity and evenness between lentic environs of Lake Kariba and lotic environs of the Zambezi River both upstream and downstream of the lake. However, Tukey’s pairwise comparison showed no significant difference (p>0.05) in species diversity and evenness between habitats upstream of the lake and habitats downstream of the lake. 

Results corroborated with the research hypothesis that avian communities within the three sections of the Zambezi Valley were significantly different from each other. These results could be a reflection of varying responses of avifauna to different habitat conditions in the different sections of the Zambezi Valley.


avian diversity; Zambezi Valley; aquatic environs.

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