Abstract—The Common Swift Apus apus, a species that has undergone major range expansion within South Africa in the past few decades, provides an opportunity to determine whether this change in range was indeed driven by changes in climate. This question was explored using species distribution modelling, combining predictive and retrodictive approaches. Using distribution and climate in the 1960s as the baseline, climate models were used to predict range changes of the swifts at decadal intervals into the 2000s, which were then compared with observed ranges of the swifts at the same time intervals. Based on comparisons between patterns of changing climate and changes in both model predicted distributions and observed distribution patterns, the species distribution model proves to have sufficient power to predict the species’ range expansion. This study thus provides compelling evidence for a major range change of a bird species in South Africa being driven primarily by climatic factors.
Index Terms—Climate change, common swift, range shift, South Africa.
Danni Guo is with Biodiversity Research Assessment and Monitoring, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Kirstenbosch Research Center, Private Bag X7, Claremont 7735, South Africa (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Gina Zietsman was with the Percy FitzPatrick Institute, DST/NRF Centre of Excellence, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa (e-mail: email@example.com).
Philip A. R. Hockey was with the Percy FitzPatrick Institute, DST/NRF Centre of Excellence, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa.
Cite: Danni Guo, Gina Zietsman, and Philip A. R. Hockey, "Climate Change Impacts on the Common Swift in South Africa," International Journal of Environmental Science and Development vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 306-311, 2016.