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Preshnee Singh

Bio: Preshnee Singh is an academic researcher from University of KwaZulu-Natal. The author has contributed to research in topics: Ibis & Bostrychia hagedash. The author has an hindex of 3, co-authored 4 publications receiving 40 citations.

Papers
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, five suburbs of Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa were surveyed for Hadeda ibis engaged in flying, foraging, perching and calling behaviours.
Abstract: Urban environments are a combination of green and grey spaces and although many species are unable to live in these transformed areas there are some that can use urban features to benefit their persistence here. The Hadeda Ibis (Bostrychia hagedash) is one such species and this study investigated the urban activities of these birds. Five suburbs of Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa were surveyed for Hadeda Ibis engaged in flying, foraging, perching and calling behaviours. Each suburb differed in the degree of urbanisation and we expected that their morning activity would differ accordingly. A difference in Hadeda Ibis calling, foraging and flying activity between summer and winter was also expected because of seasonal rainfall patterns. Although Hadeda Ibis were more common in suburbia than the city centre in Pietermaritzburg, they occurred throughout. More were observed calling in summer than in winter probably because of changes in distribution during the breeding season with more family groups of two or three individuals. There was no significant difference in Hadeda Ibis flock size when comparing foraging during summer with winter despite greater summer rainfall. Also there was no significant difference in flock size with flying activity for both seasons nor suburb although it was expected that Hadeda Ibis would need to travel further during winter and from suburbs with more grey space to access ideal foraging areas. Hadeda Ibis need moist soil to forage effectively and in an urban environment short grassed, well watered lawns provided an ideal foraging habitat regardless of season. Hadeda Ibis used urban structures like house roofs, poles, pylons, and fences for perching but continued to roost in trees so while they are able to use urban features, they still rely on a certain degree of green space for urban persistence.

17 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Bats were found to have high assimilation efficiencies on both glucose and sucrose irrespective of concentration, and it is expected that they feed opportunistically on fruit in the wild depending on temporal and spatial availability to obtain their energy requirements.
Abstract: Fruit- and nectar-feeding bats have high energy demands because of the cost of flight, and sugar is a good fuel because it is easily digested and absorbed. This study investigated the digestive efficiency of different sugars at different concentrations in Wahlberg's epauletted fruit bat (Epomophorus wahlbergi). We predicted that the sugar type and concentration would affect the total amount of solution consumed, while the total energy gained and the apparent assimilation efficiency would be high, irrespective of sugar type or concentration. Equicaloric solutions of two sugar types, glucose and sucrose, at low (10%), medium (15%) and high (25%) concentrations were offered in separate trials to bats. Total amount of solution consumed, total energy gained from each solution, and apparent assimilation efficiency, were measured. Bats had higher total volumetric intake of glucose and sucrose at the low concentrations than at the higher concentrations. However, bats maintained similar total energy intake on the respective glucose and sucrose concentrations. Bats were found to have high assimilation efficiencies on both glucose and sucrose irrespective of concentration. As bats used both sugars efficiently to maximize and maintain energy gain, it is expected that they feed opportunistically on fruit in the wild depending on temporal and spatial availability to obtain their energy requirements. Furthermore, fruit with high sucrose or glucose content will be consumed.

16 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This paper reviewed case studies of vertebrate species' responses to urbanisation in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, to determine trends and presented a novel modification to the final of three phases of the framework described by Evans et al. (2010).
Abstract: Urbanisation is rapidly transforming natural landscapes with consequences for biodiversity. Little is documented on the response of African wildlife to urbanisation. We reviewed case studies of vertebrate species' responses to urbanisation in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa to determine trends. Connected habitat mosaics of natural and anthropogenic green spaces are critical for urban wildlife persistence. We present a novel modification to the final of three phases of the framework described by Evans et al. (2010), which documents this sequence for vertebrate species persistence, based on the perspective of our research. Species in suburbia exhibit an initial phase where behavioural and ecological flexibility, life-history traits and phenotypic plasticity either contribute to their success, or they stay at low numbers. Where successful, the next phase is a rapid increase in populations and distribution; anthropogenic food resources and alternate breeding sites are effectively exploited. The modified third phase either continues to spread, plateau or decline.

12 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors investigated the urban nesting and roosting sites of the Hadeda ibis by measuring tree height and species used by the birds for nesting in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
Abstract: Hadeda Ibis (Bostrychia hagedash) have increased in population size and expanded in range in South Africa possibly as a result of increased use of exotic trees for nesting and roosting in urban areas. We investigated the urban nesting and roosting sites of the Hadeda Ibis by measuring tree height and species used by Hadeda Ibis for nesting and roosting in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. We expected Hadeda Ibis nests and roosts to have habitats, like wetlands, to be within 10 km of the roost or nest tree. Hadeda Ibis nest and roost locations were mapped using ArcGIS and available resources (grasslands, wetlands, plantations, other natural water sources) 10 km around each roost and nest tree were determined. Results showed that Hadeda Ibis use exotic trees for nesting and roosting in urban areas more than indigenous trees. This may be because exotic trees are more available in urban environments, particularly those trees that have ornamental value. Hadeda Ibis did not nest and roost closer to expected resources. Although previously associated with wetlands, Hadeda Ibis in urban environments were not close to natural water sources. This can be explained by swimming pools providing accessible drinking water and well watered lawns providing suitable foraging habitat therefore allowing them to roost and nest in this urban habitat.

11 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
28 Oct 2022-Ostrich
TL;DR: The 28th International Ornithologists' Union (IOU) Conference was scheduled to take place in Durban, South Africa from 15 to 19 August 2022 as mentioned in this paper , and the decision to go virtual was taken primarily because of the probability of COVID-19 disrupting travel, and the economic downturn made it likely that a live conference would result in a substantial financial loss to the organisers.
Abstract: Scientific conferences are essential for exchanging ideas and knowledge among scientific communities (Sarvenaz 2020). They are important for sharing new ideas, discussion and networking, and traditionally involve face-to-face, live interactions. However, the number of congresses that have been presented in an alternative virtual format has increased exponentially with the restrictions imposed by the global COVID-19 pandemic (N Freysen-Pretorious, pers. obs.; Kuehne et al. 2022). As a result, there has been a plethora of publications assessing the implications of changing to a virtual format for a diverse range of disciplines, including the biological sciences (Barral 2020; Pacchioni 2020; van der Wal et al. 2022; Skiles et al. 2022; Kuehne et al. 2022). Many highlight how these virtual conferences raise accessibility, inclusiveness, interactions, and affordability, especially for women and early-career researchers. In addition, many highlight that virtual conferences will provide shortand long-term benefits for scientific communities. ‘Online access during the pandemic widened participation in scientific conferences for women, young scientists and those from lowand middle-income countries, and should be continued.’ (Johnson 2022) But some publications have also highlighted the negatives of virtual conferences, in particular, how some people are less likely to submit an abstract or attend a virtual conference and how professional development can be hindered (Woodruff et al. 2021). The International Ornithologists’ Union (IOU) has convened the world’s largest summits on avian biology since its first Congress in 1884. The International Ornithological Congress is held every four years to promote international cooperation in ornithological research, and was meant to occur in person in Durban, South Africa, in 2022. The IOU partnered with the University of KwaZulu-Natal to organise the 28th IOCongress® from 15 to 19 August 2022. The 22nd Congress was first held in Africa in 1998 (Berruti 1998), and almost 25 years later, we were looking forward to hosting it again in Africa. The organisation began in 2020; however, in January 2022, the decision to go virtual was taken primarily because of the probability of COVID-19 disrupting travel, and the economic downturn made it likely that a live conference would result in a substantial financial loss to the organisers. The Conference Company contracted Centium Events Air to host the conference fully virtually. This was the first time this IOCongress had taken place virtually, and the pros and cons were carefully considered. We have documented some of these here.

1 citations


Cited by
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Evidence that birds and bats have lower spare digestive capacity and partially compensate for smaller intestines with increased paracellular nutrient absorption is reviewed.
Abstract: Flying vertebrates (birds and bats) are under selective pressure to reduce the size of the gut and the mass of the digesta it carries. Compared with similar-sized nonflying mammals, birds and bats have smaller intestines and shorter retention times. We review evidence that birds and bats have lower spare digestive capacity and partially compensate for smaller intestines with increased paracellular nutrient absorption.

73 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors investigated the extent (if any) to which householders in urban and suburban areas of KwaZulu-Natal provide supplementary food to African woolly-necked storks.
Abstract: African woolly-necked storks (Ciconia microscelis) depend on wetland habitats for foraging and nesting in natural environments. Recently, they have started colonising urban environments in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and are now a common sight in suburban areas in particular. There have been some anecdotal reports on supplementary feeding of this species by households in some urban areas where they are common. However, these reports have never been confirmed and therefore the extent of feeding and lack thereof is unknown. Using a questionnaire survey, we therefore investigated the extent (if any) to which householders in urban and suburban areas of KwaZulu-Natal provide supplementary food to African woolly-necked storks. We also determined the feeders’ provisioning habits, and identified the motivation behind and attitudes toward feeding. We found that a significant number of householders fed African woolly-necked storks on a daily basis throughout the year. The majority of respondents provided meat while others provided inappropriate food such as bread. Respondents were most often motivated to feed for personal pleasure. Our results showed that this species is successfully utilising and exploiting anthropogenic food – a novel behaviour. The observations and narratives from respondents strongly suggest that the African woolly-necked stork is present throughout the year, contrary to the perception that this species is migratory during winter. Based on the results obtained in this study, supplementary feeding of African woolly-necked stork by householders is relatively common, widespread and established in suburban areas of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. However, reported inappropriate feeding may create concerns regarding the health status of African woolly-necked storks in urban population. Therefore, to prevent further detrimental effects and potential human-wildlife conflicts we recommend that suitable feeding guidelines be formulated.

29 citations

Book ChapterDOI
01 Jan 2020
TL;DR: A review of the current knowledge on terrestrial vertebrate invasions in South Africa can be found in this paper, where the authors consider the importance that the NEM:BA Alien and Invasive Species Regulations have had on the research of invasive terrestrial vertebrates and emphasise the importance of regulations for domestic exotics.
Abstract: In this chapter we review the current knowledge on terrestrial vertebrate invasions in South Africa. Thirty species of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians are considered to have arrived over the last 10,000 years, with two thirds having become invasive in the last 150 years. Half of the species are mammals, a third birds, with three reptiles and two amphibians. Although there are multiple pathways, there appears to be a trend from species that were deliberately introduced in the past, to accidental introductions in the last ~100 years, which are a by-product of increasing trade, both internationally and within South Africa. Few invasive terrestrial vertebrate species have had their impacts formally assessed within South Africa, but international assessments suggest that many can have Moderate or Major environmental and socio-economic impacts. Of particular concern is the growing demand for alien pets within the region, with increasing amounts of escapees being encountered in the wild. We consider the importance that the NEM:BA Alien and Invasive Species Regulations have had on the research of invasive terrestrial vertebrates in South Africa, and emphasise the importance of regulations for domestic exotics.

29 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the effects of changing land use, and especially urbanisation, on species and functional diversity are of global concern, and the influence of differing land-cover covariates on all three components of functional diversity (functional richness, evenness, and divergence) were determined through a series of general linear models.
Abstract: The effects of changing land use, and especially urbanisation, on species and functional diversity are of global concern. Eco-estates are a form of urban housing development that is suggested to partially negate the effects of landscape development. We assessed avian functional diversity at four eco-estates (previously sugarcane plantations) and one sugarcane plantation site along the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South Africa. We determined whether the differing development, management types, and the effects of land-cover configuration and composition at the respective study sites influenced avian functional diversity. Fixed-radius point-count surveys were conducted within varying levels of land cover (natural, semi-natural, golf course and urban) at each eco-estate, and at a control sugarcane plantation site (natural, sugarcane-natural, and sugarcane land cover). The influence of differing land-cover covariates on all three components of functional diversity (functional richness, evenness, and divergence) were determined through a series of general linear models. Sections of the respective study sites with increased natural land cover, mainly in the form of indigenous forest and coastal thicket/dense bush, showed improved avian functional diversity in comparison to those with increased building and road density. Negative effects of increased building density may be offset through an interconnection with or incorporation within natural land cover. Each component of functional diversity was influenced dynamically by seasonal changes and depending on land-cover type. Eco-estates improved avian functional diversity if natural habitats are emphasised and connected. We suggest future development and management for eco-estates and agricultural land in coastal KZN follow ecological land-use complementation, to improve local ecosystem functioning.

21 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is suggested that birds' breeding success relies on the trade-off between the benefit and the expense of specific stresses from habitats, and the niche differentiation of five bird species in an urban environment makes them coexist successfully by utilizing various resources.

18 citations