BIRDS OF PREY OF DAGONA WATERFOWL SANCTUARY, NORTHEASTERN NIGERIA
The dramatic increase in human pressure, deforestation and general decrease in tree cover, overgrazing and erosion, pesticide use, over-hunting and fishing, and sometimes direct persecution of predators, all impact negatively on birds of prey population. The aim of this research was to examine species of birds of prey in Dagona Waterfowl Sanctuary in Northeastern Nigeria. Transect line method was used for the bird survey. The survey was carried out for a period of six (6) months using transect line method and each site was surveyed twice every month during the study period. Bird observation was carried out twice daily; morning between 6:00 to 10:00 a.m. and evening between 4:00 to 6:30p.m by walking slowly along the transect line. Birds were counted as birds seen and birds inflight were also counted. Transect line survey method detected a total of 550 individual birds of prey that belong to twenty (20) species of 2 families. Accipitridae with 17 species is the richest family in species number and Falconidae with 3 species. Out of the 20 species recorded 13 are resident, 4 Palearctic migrant and 3 intra-African migrant. Four species of global conservation concern were also recorded; the Vulnerable Tawny eagle (Aquila rapax) ,the Near threatened Red-necked falcon (Falco chicquera) and Pallid harrier (Circus macrourus) and the Endangered Martial eagle (Polemaetus bellicosus ). This survey shows that, the Dagona Waterfowl sanctuary still retained a considerable number of birds of prey species that normally occur in West Africa. The management needs to increase conservation measures that will ensure the protection of the wetlands.