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Bird diversity was assessed by point-transect-count sampling during the dry and the wet season in riverine gallery woodland and in Colophospermum mopane woodland with different levels of elephant impact Dramatic woodland degradation did not result in a dramatic overall reduction m bird diversity, but resulted in substantial changes in bird species composition and capacity for migrant birds Less affected, more dense woodlands functioned as dry season refuges for‘resident’Afrotropical species, but this function was lost in degraded woodlands In contrast, secondanzed habitat had a much higher capacity for long distance migrants in the wet season Species endemic to the sub-region and subspecies with restricted ranges centred in the area were not negatively affected by woodland degradation The cumulative interference of past and current elephant numbers with the conservation of bird diversity appears to be insignificant in northern Botswana