Integrated Publishing Toolkit(IPT)

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Surveys of the East Coast Akalat, Sheppardia gunningi, in Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, 2005-2011

Latest version published by A Rocha Kenya on Mar 1, 2019 A Rocha Kenya

Arabuko-Sokoke Forest is the largest and most intact coastal forest in East Africa and is located just south of Gede in Kilifi County, Kenya. It is globally known for its conservation importance for threatened biodiversity. The East Coast Akalat Sheppardia gunningi is one of six key Red Listed species of bird for which Arabuko-Sokoke holds globally important populations. This dataset contains 418 records of the near threatened East Coast Akalat, Sheppardia gunningi, point count surveys that were done by A Rocha Kenya together with the Arabuko-Sokoke Guides Association between 2005-2011 to monitor its population size and distribution in the forest.

Data Records

The data in this sampling event resource has been published as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A), which is a standardized format for sharing biodiversity data as a set of one or more data tables. The core data table contains 418 records. 1 extension data tables also exist. An extension record supplies extra information about a core record. The number of records in each extension data table is illustrated below.

  • Event (core)
  • Occurrence 

This IPT archives the data and thus serves as the data repository. The data and resource metadata are available for download in the downloads section. The versions table lists other versions of the resource that have been made publicly available and allows tracking changes made to the resource over time.


Download the latest version of this resource data as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A) or the resource metadata as EML or RTF:

Data as a DwC-A file download 418 records in English (22 KB) - Update frequency: unknown
Metadata as an EML file download in English (18 KB)
Metadata as an RTF file download in English (15 KB)


The table below shows only published versions of the resource that are publicly accessible.

How to cite

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

Jackson C, Kirao L, Baya A, Ochieng J, Bruinsma D, Nanninga T, Mwalimu A, Mwachongo J, Kinzer A (2019): Surveys of the East Coast Akalat, Sheppardia gunningi, in Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, 2005-2011. v1.0. A Rocha Kenya. Dataset/Samplingevent.


Researchers should respect the following rights statement:

The publisher and rights holder of this work is A Rocha Kenya. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC-BY-NC) 4.0 License.

GBIF Registration

This resource has been registered with GBIF, and assigned the following GBIF UUID: 7efe1a63-93df-4638-a44e-b503c99e1595.  A Rocha Kenya publishes this resource, and is itself registered in GBIF as a data publisher endorsed by Participant Node Managers Committee.


Arabuko-Sokoke Forest; biodiversity; coastal forest; Kilifi; East Coast Akalat; near threatened


Who created the resource:

Colin Jackson
National Director
A Rocha Kenya P.O Box 383 80202 Watamu KE
Lennox Kirao
Research Scientist
A Rocha Kenya P.O Box 383 80202 Watamu KE
Albert Baya
Biodiversity technician
Freelance KE
Judith Ochieng
Data Clerk
A Rocha Kenya P.O Box 383 80202 Watamu KE
Dave Bruinsma
Ted Nanninga
Alex Mwalimu
Jonathan Mwachongo
Andrew Kinzer
Research assistant
Michigan University US

Who can answer questions about the resource:

Colin Jackson
National Director
A Rocha Kenya P.O Box 383 80202 Watamu KE
Judith Ochieng
Data Clerk
A Rocha Kenya P.O Box 383 80202 Watamu KE

Who filled in the metadata:

Colin Jackson
National Director
A Rocha Kenya P.O Box 383 80202 Watamu KE
Judith Ochieng
Data Clerk
A Rocha Kenya P.O Box 383 80202 Watamu KE

Who else was associated with the resource:

Lawrence Monda
ICT Manager
National Museums of Kenya P.O Box 40658 00100 Nairobi

Geographic Coverage

The data is of East Coast Akalat recorded within the boundaries of Arabuko-Sokoke Forest.Latitude of 3° 20’ S, Longitude 39° 50’ E

Bounding Coordinates South West [-3.509, 39.797], North East [-3.197, 40.001]

Taxonomic Coverage

The data is of East Coast Akalat recorded within the boundaries of Arabuko-Sokoke Forest.

Species  Sheppardia gunningi Haagner, 1909 (East Coast Akalat)

Temporal Coverage

Start Date / End Date 2005-01-01 / 2011-01-01

Project Data

The East Coast Akalat surveys were coordinated by A Rocha Kenya as part of its threatened species monitoring programme in Arabuko-Sokoke Forest. The data were digitized through a Biodiversity Information for Development project focused on the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest under the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). The project aims to share biodiversity data through the GBIF online database so as to assist research, conservation and management of the forest.

Title Monitoring the East Coast Akalat in Arabuko-Sokoke Forest
Identifier BID-AF2017-0274-NAC
Funding Funding for the fieldwork was provided mostly by the A.G. Leventis Foundation. Data digitisation for publication to the GBIF database came from the European Union through GBIF:
Study Area Description Arabuko-Sokoke Forest is the largest remaining patch of indigenous coastal forest in East Africa. It is located south of Malindi on the north coast of Kenya at 03° 20’ S, 39° 50’ E. It predominantly consists of three distinct forest habitat types. Cynometra Forest (c. 23,500 ha) is dominated by Cynometra webberi and Manilkara sulcata; it used also to be dominated by Brachylaena huilliensis but this has been largely selectively removed. The Brachystegia Woodland (c. 7,700 ha) is dominated by Brachystegia spiciformis on white sandy soil. Mixed Forest (c.7,000 ha) occurs on the eastern side of the forest and has a diverse tree flora including Afzelia quanzensis (formerly dominant), Hymenaea verrucosa, Combretum schumannii and Manilkara sansibarensis and the cycad Encephalartos hildebrandtii. Surveys for the East Coast Akalat were carried out within the boundary of the forest reserve.

The personnel involved in the project:

Colin Jackson
Point Of Contact
Lennox Kirao
Judith Ochieng
Lawrence Monda

Sampling Methods

Point counts of the S. gunningi were conducted using a call playback sampling protocol in the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest in the years 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011. The counts were conducted along permanently established long-term transects located in the Mixed Forest and Cynometra and not in the Brachystegia because the East Coast Akalat is known not to occur in Brachystegia (Matiku et al., 2000). The counts were conducted in the breeding season of each year, spanning November to January, when birds are more prone to call and respond to a playback. The exception was the first survey in 2005 carried out in June. The call was played using a portable speaker system at set point counts along the 2 km transects. The distance between points was 200 metres to avoid the possibility of double counting individuals because akalats will not respond to playback calls at a distance greater than 100 metres (Nemeth & Bennun, 2000). Upon arriving at a transect an appropriate period of time was taken to allow the birds to quiet down and become accustomed to the presence of the observer. At each set point, the call was played on the speakers for a total of 30 seconds to one side of the track. The observer then listened for 4.5 minutes, recording any birds seen or heard. The observer also estimated and recorded the distance and direction of each individual when first detected. Any distances greater than 10 metres were rounded to the nearest five metre interval. This process was then repeated for the other side of the transect. Akalats which were seen or heard between the points or outside of the time frame were recorded but were not included in the count data or the analysis.

Study Extent The surveys were carried out along transects located in the known preferred habitat for East Coast Akalats, namely the Mixed Forest in the eastern section of the forest and Cynometra forest and thicket to the west and north (Matiku, Bennun, & Nemeth, 2000). Surveys were carried out over a single, approximately two week period in 2005 and annually from 2007 to 2011.
Quality Control The fieldwork was carried out involving the same observer in all surveys to avoid differences in field skills and distance estimation between different observers. The data were then entered into excel spreadsheets in a variety of methods but later converted to the Darwin Core standard format for uploading to GBIF. GPS locations for each point count were mapped in both QGIS and on Google Earth to ascertain their accuracy. Some were noted to have an offset error and were adjusted to align with other correct locations. The data were then verified by CHWJ who assisted oversight of the project.

Method step description:

  1. Ten set points (marked with GPS) 200 m apart were used along a 2 km transect to sample for East Coast Akalats. The transects were distributed in habitat preferred by the akalat. Half a minute of playback of the akalat song was used to elicit a response from any Akalats within hearing followed four and a half minutes of focused observing. This was repeated facing the opposite side to total 10 minutes of survey at each point. Birds calling were estimated by the same observer as to how far from the point they were and rounded to 5 m bands from the central point. Data were recorded on field data sheets and later transcribed to excel spreadsheets. Later they were converted to GBIF format for publishing.

Bibliographic Citations

  1. Matiku, P. M., Bennun, L. A., & Nemeth, E. (2000). Distribution and population size of the threatened East Coast Akalat in Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, Kenya. Ostrich, 71(1–2), 282–285. Nemeth, E., & Bennun, L. (2000). Distribution, habitat selection and behaviour of the East Coast Akalat Sheppardia gunningi sokokensis in Kenya and Tanzania. Bird Conservation International, 10(02), 115–130.

Additional Metadata

Purpose This dataset aims to help assess the population status of the Near Threatened East Coast Akalat in order to assist the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Management Team make informed decisions for the conservation the East Coast Akalat and other threatened species in the forest. This dataset also aims to encourage further research on the East Coast Akalat. It is also meant to inform citizen scientists, researchers and the general public of what an important role Arabuko-Sokoke Forest plays as an ecosystem in terms of conservation of biodiversity.
Alternative Identifiers