New publication about the Black-shouldered Kite in Swaziland

Howard, KA; Schwertner, TW; Muir, JP and Monadjem, A (2016): Habitat selection of the Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus in agroecosystems of Swaziland. OSTRICH, 87 (2):155-159; 10.2989/00306525.2016.1186122 2016

Abstract: A decline in many African raptor populations may contribute to loss of ecosystem services such as pest control. The Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus stands out as an exception, experiencing range expansions due to its proclivity for agricultural landscapes. We surveyed roads throughout agroecosystems in Swaziland for Black-shouldered Kites and looked at habitat selection in a used versus available framework. We found that kites selected for savannas and tall herbaceous vegetation but did not show preferences for or against land-use types. We also found a significant relationship with kite presence and low tree densities in the immediate vicinity of a perch site. Singles, pairs and fledgling kites were observed in agricultural landscapes, suggesting that although they are not selecting for these areas in proportion to their availability, they are foraging in it. This may be a boon for farmers who implement ecologically based rodent management programs.