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Trends in the use of a small coastal lagoon by waterbirds Muni Lagoon



Trends in the use of a small coastal lagoon by waterbirds Muni Lagoon



Biodiversity & Conservation 9(4): 527-539, April



This paper presents data from a twelve-year (1986-98) monitoring of waterbird populations at Muni Lagoon, and discusses the ornithological importance of the lagoon and trends in the use of the site by waterbirds. The small brackish lagoon forms part of the Muni-Pomadze Ramsar site situated on the Ghana coast. A total of 48 species of waterbirds were recorded at the site comprising of 29 species of waders, eight species of terns, two species of gulls, seven species of herons and egrets, one species each of duck and cormorant. The most abundant waterbirds species recorded on the site were the Curlew Sandpiper, Ringed Plover, Greenshank, Black-winged Stilt, Common Tern, Black Tern, Royal Tern and the Sandwich Tern. Three species of waders, Black-winged Stilt, Pratincole and Little Tern were observed to breed at the site. The highest numbers of waterbirds occurred on the site in the period September to March. The site remains an internationally important wetland site by virtue of supporting internationally important numbers of four species of terns: Royal Tern, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern and Black Tern. The value of Muni lies more in its use as a feeding/staging site for migrating waders that spend the non-breeding season in Ghana or pass through to winter further south, and as a roosting site for terns which feed mainly at sea. The use of the site by waterbirds has increased by some 400% between 1986 and 1998. This is attributed to improved prey availability resulting from the opening of the lagoon into the sea during the 1994 floods, and reduced disturbance of feeding and roosting birds. This would imply that the value of the site as waterbird habitat could improve considerably with appropriate habitat management interventions and continued protection.

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