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    Nesting trees used by a pest bird (Village Weaver, Ploceus cucullatus): a large field survey suggests further human conflicts with local stakeholders in Southern Nigeria

    Amadi, Nioking, Tasie, Fidelia, Luiselli, Luca, Fa, Julia E ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1572-9828, Alawa, Nyimale G, Amuzie, Chidinma, Petrozzi, Fabio, Owoh, Albert, Wala, Chimela, Wodi, Peace S, Battisti, Corrado, Akani, Godfrey C and Ajuru, Mercy G (2024) Nesting trees used by a pest bird (Village Weaver, Ploceus cucullatus): a large field survey suggests further human conflicts with local stakeholders in Southern Nigeria. Folia Oecologica, 51 (1). pp. 75-82. ISSN 1336-5266

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    Abstract

    The village weaver (Ploceus cucullatus) is a common colonial nesting bird widespread throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. It is known to weave its nests from leaf strips from a variety of tree species (mainly coconuts trees, oil palm trees) associated with human settlement areas, grasses, and other available plants. In this regard, this bird was considered a pest for its impact on different economic activities. Although extensive literature is already available on the parasitic role of village weavers, there is still a lack of analytical data that outlines which tree species are used for nesting and in what proportion, as well as the related implications in terms of economic impacts. Here, we carried out the first comprehensive arrangement of trees used by this species for nesting in Southern Nigeria (West Africa), checking for possible different impacts on stakeholders. In April 2021, we searched for village weaver nesting in 95 sites in 77 communities from 24 local government areas in Southern Nigeria, during 14 field surveys. Within each site, we collected GPS coordinates and counted the number of active nests, nesting birds and occupied trees. We recorded a total of 5,776 nests and 2,140 birds in 94 plants belonging to 23 tree species selected for nesting. Oil palm (Elaeis guineensis; n = 45) was the most used tree species, as 2,990 (51.77%) nests and 873 (40.79%) birds were recorded. Our results indicate the preference for nesting on trees used by stakeholders belonging to agricultural (palm farmers), touristic (operators) and energy (gas flare stations) sectors with economic implications about the conflict with this pest species.

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