BREEDING SUCCESS OF BLACK KITE (MILVUS MIGRANS) ON MOBILE TOWERS OF MALAPPURAM AND CALICUT DISTRICTS OF KERALABinu Chullakkattil and K. Seedikkoya
Adaptive selection and utilization of the nesting and foraging resources utilized by Milvus migrans makes them more successful predators. High degree of nest loss due to predation is the major threatening in natural habitat, easiness in nest construction and camouflage from predators leads to a high degree of nest success and fledging success on the mobile tower is observed to be the major factor to such a selection behavior. Survival rate of fledglings on mobile tower in 2013- 74 %, 2014- 81%, 2015- 96 % and in 2016 - 100% with total of 89 % survival for all four years. In natural habitat 2013- 65%, 2014 -63%, 2015-65%, 2016 -55% and the black kites (Milvus migrans) conventionally use nesttrees as Cocosnucifera, fig species, Azadirachta indica, Tamarindus indica, Mangifera indica etc., while nowadays due to various anthropogenic stress including wetland depletion, drastic urbanization leads to habitat fragmentation and shortage of appropriate nest trees would compel them to select an alternative remedy to tolerate the short comings in the breeding ground. Shrinkage of ideal habitat make their life more competitive in both intraspecifically and interspecifically. As a part of that there would be a strong trend to select mobile towers as nesting habitat among black kites. Test association between nest type and survival has a chi-square value of 19.44 with P value <0.0001. Therefore, there is strong association between survival and nest type (tower/tree) i.e., nests in tower have significantly higher survival rate. The higher survival rate in the tower is mainly due to low predation rate, while it is higher in natural habitat. Black kites considering as potential scavengers and their ecosystem services also considerably high. So, retaining and protection of natural habitat is a strong recommendation initiative to protect these umbrella species insitu.