Cohabitation étroite entre la Cigogne blanche le Grand Corbeau en Algérie

Boulaouad Belkacem, A., Ailam, O., Bouaziz, A., Daoudi-Hacini, S. & Doumandji, S. 2015. Cohabitation étroite entre la Cigogne blanche Ciconia ciconia et le Grand Corbeau Corvus corax en Algérie. Alauda 83: 39-40.

Strong cohabitation between White Stork Ciconia ciconia and Raven Corvus corax in Algeria.

PDF in ResearchGate.net

Jeune Grand Corbeau sur le nid (2) à proximité de celui de la Cigogne blanche (3). Un Grand Corbeau adulte surveille à proximité (1). Young Raven on the nest (2) close to that of the White Stork (3). A Raven adult monitors nearby (1)

Jeune Grand Corbeau sur le nid (2) à proximité de celui de la Cigogne blanche (3). Un Grand Corbeau adulte surveille à proximité (1).                                                                                                                      Young Raven on the nest (2) close to that of the White Stork (3). A Raven adult monitors nearby (1)

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Co-occurrence and commensal feeding between Little Egrets (Egretta garzetta) and Eurasian Spoonbills (Platalea leucorodia)

Hamza, F., & Selmi, S. (2016). Co-occurrence and commensal feeding between Little Egrets Egretta garzetta and Eurasian Spoonbills Platalea leucorodia. Bird Study 63: 509–515. doi: 10.1080/00063657.2016.1238035
PDF in RresearchGate

Abstract:

Capsule: The spatial distribution and feeding efficiency of Little Egrets Egretta garzetta wintering in the gulf of Gabès, Tunisia, are affected by a commensal association with the Eurasian Spoonbills Platalea leucorodia.

Aims: To investigate the role of the interspecific interaction between Little Egrets and Eurasian Spoonbills in shaping the spatial distribution and feeding efficiency of Little Egrets.

Methods: Using count and behavioural data, we examined the co-occurrence of these species in flocks, and compared the foraging efficiency of Little Egrets feeding with Eurasian Spoonbills with that of solitary Little Egrets.

Results: We found that the presence of Eurasian Spoonbills doubled the chance of Little Egrets being present. Within mixed flocks, the number of Little Egrets increased with the number of Spoonbills. Moreover, Little Egrets foraging in association with Eurasian Spoonbills took fewer steps, had higher pecking rates and higher prey intake rates than solitary Little Egrets.

Conclusion: Little Egrets appear to obtain foraging efficiency benefits by following Eurasian Spoonbills. This interaction seems to play a role in determining the spatial distribution of Little Egrets.

 

Eurasian Spoonbills (Platalea leucorodia), Gulf of Gabès, Tunisia (Csaba Pigniczki )

Eurasian Spoonbills (Platalea leucorodia), Gulf of Gabès, Tunisia (Csaba Pigniczki )

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Diet of Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) in desert area at Hassi El Gara (El Golea, Algeria)

Djilali, K., Sekour, M., Souttou, K., Ababsa, L., Guezoul, O., Denys, C. & Doumandji, S. (2016). Diet of Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus (Pontoppidan, 1763) in desert area at Hassi El Gara (El Golea, Algeria). Zoology and Ecology 26: 159–165. doi: 10.1080/21658005.2016.1184907
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Abstract:

The diet of the Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus was analysed in an arid environment in Hassi El Gara located in the southeast of El Golea (Ghardaia, Algeria). The diet was determined by analysing 138 pellets. Our data showed that the diet was dominated by mammals (Chiroptera and Rodentia). Based on relative biomass, birds were the main prey species. Mammals were the second most important prey. Mammals were the major food item throughout the seasons and their contribution to the diet ranged from 50.7% in spring to 73.6% in summer. Birds were the second numerous prey with 8.1% in summer and 29.6% in spring. The dominant prey species was Myotis sp., making up 37.8%. It was followed by Gerbillus nanus (5.4%), Columba livia (4.3%) and Bufo mauritanicus (4.1%).

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North African hybrid sparrows back from oblivion – ecological segregation and asymmetric mitochondrial introgression between parental species

Ait Belkacem, A., Gast, O., Stuckas, H., Canal, D., LoValvo, M., Giacalone, G. & Päckert, M. (2016). North African hybrid sparrows (Passer domesticus, P. hispaniolensis) back from oblivion – ecological segregation and asymmetric mitochondrial introgression between parental species. Ecology and Evolution 15: 5190–5206. doi: 10.1002/ece3.2274 (Open Access)

Abstract:

A stabilized hybrid form of the house sparrow (Passer domesticus) and the Spanish sparrow (P. hispaniolensis) is known as Passer italiae from the Italian Peninsula and a few Mediterranean islands. The growing attention for the Italian hybrid sparrow and increasing knowledge on its biology and genetic constitution greatly contrast the complete lack of knowledge of the long-known phenotypical hybrid sparrow populations from North Africa. Our study provides new data on the breeding biology and variation of mitochondrial DNA in three Algerian populations of house sparrows, Spanish sparrows, and phenotypical hybrids. In two field seasons, the two species occupied different breeding habitats: Spanish sparrows were only found in rural areas outside the cities and bred in open-cup nests built in large jujube bushes. In contrast, house sparrows bred only in the town centers and occupied nesting holes in walls of buildings. Phenotypical hybrids were always associated with house sparrow populations. House sparrows and phenotypical hybrids started breeding mid of March, and most pairs had three successive clutches, whereas Spanish sparrows started breeding almost one month later and had only two successive clutches. Mitochondrial introgression is strongly asymmetric because about 75% of the rural Spanish sparrow population carried house sparrow haplotypes. In contrast, populations of the Italian hybrid form, P. italiae, were genetically least diverse among all study populations and showed a near-fixation of house sparrow haplotypes that elsewhere were extremely rare or that were even unique for the Italian Peninsula. Such differences between mitochondrial gene pools of Italian and North African hybrid sparrow populations provide first evidence that different demographic histories have shaped the extant genetic diversity observed on both continents.

Nesting sites of house sparrows, Spanish sparrows and phenotypical hybrids in Algeria; (A, C) Passer domesticus: nest with eggs and burrows in brick wall, both at Djelfa – phenotypical hybrids show the same nesting site preference; (B, D) Passer hispaniolensis: nest with eggs and breeding colony in jujube bushes, both at Hassi El-Euch (photos: A. Ait Belkacem)

Nesting sites of house sparrows, Spanish sparrows and phenotypical hybrids in Algeria; (A, C) Passer domesticus: nest with eggs and burrows in brick wall, both at Djelfa – phenotypical hybrids show the same nesting site preference; (B, D) Passer hispaniolensis: nest with eggs and breeding colony in jujube bushes, both at Hassi El-Euch (photos: A. Ait Belkacem)

 

 

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Negotiating an ecological barrier: crossing the Sahara in relation to winds by common swifts

Åkesson, S., Bianco, G. & Hedenström, A. (2016). Negotiating an ecological barrier: crossing the Sahara in relation to winds by common swifts. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 371: 20150393. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2015.0393

Abstract

The Sahara Desert is one of the largest land-based barriers on the Earth, crossed twice each year by billions of birds on migration. Here we investigate how common swifts migrating between breeding sites in Sweden and wintering areas in sub-Saharan Africa perform the desert crossing with respect to route choice, winds, timing and speed of migration by analysing 72 geolocator tracks recording migration. The swifts cross western Sahara on a broad front in autumn, while in spring they seem to use three alternative routes across the Sahara, a western, a central and an eastern route across the Arabian Peninsula, with most birds using the western route. The swifts show slower migration and travel speeds, and make longer detours with more stops in autumn compared with spring. In spring, the stopover period in West Africa coincided with mostly favourable winds, but birds remained in the area, suggesting fuelling. The western route provided more tailwind assistance compared with the central route for our tracked swifts in spring, but not in autumn. The ultimate explanation for the evolution of a preferred western route is presumably a combination of matching rich foraging conditions (swarming insects) and favourable winds enabling fast spring migration.

A Common Swift (Apus apus) equipped with a micro data logger that measures light (Susanne Åkesson / Lund University)

A Common Swift (Apus apus) equipped with a micro data logger that measures light (Susanne Åkesson / Lund University).

Map of stopover areas before initiating migration across the Sahara Desert (triangles), stopover areas on passage (filled yellow circles) and stopover or final wintering areas at arrival after crossing the barrier (squares), for different populations of common swifts breeding in north, central and south Sweden as recorded for spring and autumn by miniature geolocators.

Map of stopover areas before initiating migration across the Sahara Desert (triangles), stopover areas on passage (filled yellow circles) and stopover or final wintering areas at arrival after crossing the barrier (squares), for different populations of common swifts breeding in north, central and south Sweden as recorded for spring and autumn by miniature geolocators. Solid lines are connecting routes for birds recorded outside equinox periods, while dashed lines connect starting and endpoints for swifts passing the Sahara during the equinox period. Lines connecting departure, stopover and arrival events simplify the assumed migratory pathway of the birds (Åkesson et al. 2016 – DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2015.0393)

 

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Sexual size dimorphism and morphometric sexing in a North African population of Laughing Doves (Spilopelia senegalensis)

Ayadi, T., Hammouda, A., Kididi, S., Yahyaoui, M. H. & Selmi, S. (2016). Sexual size dimorphism and morphometric sexing in a North African population of Laughing Doves Spilopelia senegalensis. Ostrich 87: 173–177. doi: 10.2989/00306525.2016.1188173

Abstract:

Like the majority of Columbiformes, the Laughing Dove Spilopelia senegalensis is sexually monomorphic in plumage, but seems to be slightly dimorphic in size. However, due to the lack of studies little is known about the sexual size dimorphism in this species. In this work, we used morphometric data on a sample of 61 Laughing Doves from southern Tunisia, and sexed using a DNA-based method, to assess size differences between males and females and to determine a discriminant function useful for sex identification. The results showed that wing length was the most dimorphic trait, which could be due to the effects of sexual selection. The best function for the discrimination between sexes included wing length and head length, which is comparable with findings on other dove species. This discriminant function accurately classified 89% of birds, providing a rapid and accurate tool for sex identification in the studied population. Further data from different populations are needed for firmer conclusions about the extent of sexual size dimorphism and the reliability of the morphometric sexing approach in this dove species.

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Breeding ecology of House Martins (Delichon urbica) in Northeast Algeria

Hamlaoui, B., Rouaiguia, M., Zebsa, R., Kafi, F., Haddad, S., Lahlah, N. & Houhamdi, M. (2016). On the breeding ecology of House Martins Delichon urbica (Linnaeus 1758) in Northeast Algeria. Zoology and Ecology 26: 77–84.  doi: 10.1080/21658005.2016.1149350
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Abstract:

The study of the reproductive biology of House Martins Delichon urbica was carried out in the cities of Guelma and Hammam Debagh, Northeast Algeria during two years 2013 and 2014. Birds of this species produce two broods per year and per breeding pair. At both study sites, the egg-laying period lasted for almost four months. Egg weight and volume differed between broods and years. The mean clutch size was 3.87 ± 1.29, 4.19 ± 1.02 in Guelma and 3.93 ± 1.13, 3.64 ± 1.30 in Hammam in 2013 and 2014, respectively, with a seasonal decline. Hatching success reached 69 and 74.25% in Guelma, and 74.20 and 63.39% in Hammam in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Fledging success was 64.57 and 72.62% in Guelma, whereas, in Hammam it was 72.22 and 58.16% in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Hatching failure was the main cause of mortality. The breeding parameters and morphometrics of the House Martin’s eggs in Algeria determined during our study differed from those reported in previous studies carried out in different parts of Europe.

 

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