loading page

Distribution and predictive niche modeling of five endangered raptors species in Kenya
  • +2
  • Peggy Ngila,
  • David Chiawo,
  • Margaret Owuor,
  • Oliver Wasonga,
  • Jane Mugo
Peggy Ngila
South Eastern Kenya University

Corresponding Author:ngila.peggy@gmail.com

Author Profile
David Chiawo
Center for Biodiversity Information Development
Author Profile
Margaret Owuor
South Eastern Kenya University
Author Profile
Oliver Wasonga
University of Nairobi
Author Profile
Jane Mugo
University of Nairobi
Author Profile


Raptors are apex predators threatened globally by electrocution, collisions, and habitat fragmentation. Most species of raptors are understudied and largely unexplored. Top predators like raptors depend on the sustainability of the ecosystems in which they live and migrate. Knowing how endangered raptors are geographically dispersed, as well as the factors that may influence how they use their habitat, is critical for their protection. This research focuses on Kenya, where there are gaps in knowledge on appropriate habitats and raptor dispersal patterns. With several species of raptors endangered, it is crucial to determine their distribution patterns for management and conservation. To evaluate the size of the realized niches for five Kenyan raptor species at the risk of extinction, we applied species distribution models (SDMs) through an ensembling approach using occurrence data from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) and environmental covariates. These species were: Martial eagle, Secretarybird, Bateleur, Steppe Eagle, and Southern ground hornbill. The five raptors’ distribution within and outside protected areas and the role of key environmental predictors in predicting their distribution was estimated. Our findings indicate raptor distribution in several areas in Kenya that is predominantly in the south-western region, extending into the country’s central region. Martial eagle had the largest niche range amounting to ca.49,169 km2 while the Southern ground hornbill had the smallest niche range amounting to ca.4,145 km2. Secretarybird had the highest distribution outside protected areas at 77.57% followed by the Martial eagle at 76.89%. Significant predictors of raptor species distribution in Kenya were; precipitation during the warmest quarter, precipitation during the driest month, and precipitation during the coldest quarter. Key areas for raptor conservation listed here could serve as foundation for a number of additional Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Kenya, according to the A1 Global IBA Criterion for species that are globally threatened.
15 Mar 2023Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
16 Mar 2023Submission Checks Completed
16 Mar 2023Assigned to Editor
23 Mar 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
12 Apr 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
10 May 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
08 Jul 20231st Revision Received
10 Jul 2023Assigned to Editor
10 Jul 2023Submission Checks Completed
10 Jul 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
10 Jul 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
27 Jul 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
03 Aug 20232nd Revision Received
04 Aug 2023Assigned to Editor
04 Aug 2023Submission Checks Completed
04 Aug 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
10 Aug 2023Editorial Decision: Accept