These systems are rich in prey species, such as the small pelagic fish that are an important food source for many top predators. And when prey supplies fluctuate, the predators’ populations respond.
The Benguela Upwelling System, adjacent to Angola, Namibia and South Africa, is one of these four systems and is home to many seabird species that play an integral role in such ecosystems. Among the Benguela seabirds are three endangered species: the African Penguin, Cape Gannet and Cape Cormorant, which feed on small pelagic fish, mostly anchovies and sardines. The status of the African Penguin population is cause for particular concern, due largely to the limits imposed on the birds’ ability to disperse and adapt to their prey’s movements.
During the breeding season the penguins are restricted to a small foraging range of 20–40 kilometres around their colonies. Within this zone, prevailing conditions play a crucial role in determining the success of the birds’ breeding effort. A key limitation is the availability of their prey, which is also targeted by the purse-seine fishery, the largest fishery in South Africa in terms of biomass extracted. This competition for resources, together with threats linked to emerging industries and maritime operations, means that there is a clear and urgent need to develop tools to monitor the penguins’ habitat at a scale appropriate for effective management. The African Penguin population has plummeted by more than 70 per cent since the turn of the century – and we need to be able to convince stakeholders to implement solutions that will reverse this downward trend.
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Canon’s R6 and R5 camera bodies
FORCE of nature
During the past five or so years, Cape-based photographer Peter Chadwick has focused his conservation work on supporting counter-poaching efforts, developing conservation and re-introduction strategies for high-risk and endangered species and cultivating marine and terrestrial conservation teams. While doing this work throughout the African continent and the Western Indian Ocean, Peter has used his conservation photojournalism to raise awareness and garner support for the various causes he works on. A multiaward-winning cameraman, he is a Senior Fellow and Executive Member of the International League of Conservation Photographers.
Coral trees (Erythrina species) are found in tropical and subtropical areas around the world, including in southern Africa where nine species occur.
proudly SOUTH AFRICAN
Founded in February 2020, the South Africa Listers’ Club is a community of birders who have recorded 300 or more species within the borders of South Africa. As a protector of the country’s birds, BirdLife South Africa is enthusiastic about encouraging a #ProudlySouthAfrican approach to birding.
Accipiters and Cape Buzzards breeding on the Cape Peninsula
The Magic Beaks Of Stone Birds
Discovering an ancient avian superpower
Hidden Treasure Verreaux's Eagle-Owl
Despite being the largest owl species in the region and sporting characteristic bright pink eyelids, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owls Bubo lacteus can be surprisingly difficult to find in the wild. It was a colleague of mine, Callum Evans, who first pointed out an eagle-owl nest to me on 1 August 2020 in Mawana Game Reserve in northern KwaZulu-Natal. I had seen an adult and a sub-adult in the vicinity a few days before and had thought there might be a nest somewhere, but I hadn’t been able to locate it.
What's In A Name?
Introducing the Blue-billed Teal and Fynbos Buttonquail
The Place Of Wonder
Birding in iSimangaliso Wetland Park and St Lucia
Madagascar What's So Special?
A typical person knows nothing about Madagascar beyond an awareness of the animated movies of that name and a resulting conviction that the country gives refuge to penguins. Africans do slightly better.