THE FEEDING HABITS OF THE YELLOW-NECKED SPURFOWL (PTERNISTIS LEUCOSCEPU8) IN NORTHERN TANZANIA

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Summary

In late 1984 and throughout 1965 the feeding habits of Pternistis leucoscepus were studied in the north of Tanzania and in the Tsavo West National Park in Kenya.

The main food of this bird was found to be the corms of the sedge Cyperus rotundus. Grass and legume seeds and insects formed a small proportion of the diet. P. leucoscepus is not dependent on free water and can occupy waterless country.

The species' main habitat is the edge of flood plains with abundant C. rotundus sedge, bounded by shrub and small tree cover.

In the two main study areas, Ngase-rai and Tarangire, the difference in the general density of the habitats is reflected in the occurrence of P. leucoscepus and Francolinus sephaena together in the former area, and of P. leucoscepus, P. cranchii, F. sephaena and F. hildebrandti in the latter. The sympat-ric occurrence of these related game birds and the apparent similarity of the two spurfowls' feeding habits presents a fascinating ecological problem for further study.

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