African Feathers in threat – Climate Change

Africa’s migratory birds are in danger due to the east and center of the continent, where deteriorating weather patterns have caused severe drought and diminished natural water supplies.


Climate Change

Many migratory species are either endangered or forced to completely alter their migration patterns by residing in cooler northern regions due to the hotter and drier circumstances brought on by climate change that are destroying their water sources and breeding habitats. Twenty-eight species, including the Taita falcon, the Madagascar fish eagle, and hooded vultures, are classified as “critically endangered,” placing them in the 10% of Africa’s more than 2,000 bird species that are threatened category. An environmental group, BirdLife International analysis found that almost one-third of them are particularly vulnerable to climate change and extreme weather.

As with any other species, birds are impacted by climate change, according to Ken Mwathe, policy coordinator for BirdLife. Because they must continually travel, migratory birds are more likely to have a location they depend on during their journey degraded in some manner than other kinds of birds. Over 2,600 bird migration sites are located along the African-Eurasian flyway, and the route birds migrate south through the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea during the winter. More than in Europe or Asia, it is projected that more than 85% of African sites are at risk from climate change. The deteriorating climate is also a problem for non-migratory species. African fish eagles, widespread in sub-Saharan Africa, must now fly farther in quest of food. There are much fewer Cape Rock jumpers and Protea canaries in South Africa.


Public View

Evans Mukolwe, a retired meteorologist and the organization’s science director, claimed that Africa is more susceptible to climate change since it is less equipped to adapt.

The continent finds it more challenging to preserve wild species’ habitats due to “poverty, biodiversity degradation, harsh weather events, lack of funding, and access to new technology,” according to Mukolwe. Key wetland regions and water sources that birds depend on during migratory travels are reduced as a result of rising temperatures brought on by human-caused climate change and less rain. 


Mwathe cited Lake Chad as an illustration. “Birds stop by Lake Chad on their way from one hemisphere to the other before crossing the Sahara. But Lake Chad has been getting smaller over time, he said, which makes it harder for birds to survive there. Paul Matiku, executive director of Nature Kenya, explained that parched birds have more challenging travel, affecting their reproduction capacity. Flamingos, who typically reproduce in Lake Natron in Tanzania, may not be able to do so “if the migration path is too difficult,” according to Matiku. Because flamingos need water to make mud nests that shield their eggs from the severe heat of dry earth, he continued, “not having water in those wetlands means breeding will not take place.”

Kathy Lewis

Kathy is an all-around geek who loves learning new stuff every day. With a background in computer science and a passion for writing, she loves writing for almost all the sections of

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