Pied Crow (Corvus albus) at Tajura near Tripoli, western Libya

Two Pied Crows (Corvus albus) were seen roosting on palm trees at Tajura (32°53’37.39 N, 13°23’13.33 E), some 20 Km east of Tripoli (western Libya) on 7 June 2013. On 17 June they were seen again and photographed. According to the Libyan Society for Birds, the species have been recorded in eastern Libya only a few times before but this is the first record for western Libya.

The Libyan Society for Birds wishes to thank Khaled Etayeb, Essam Bourass, Ali Berbash and Wagih Bashimam for their help.


Essam Bourass observed again 2 Pied Crows at the same place two weeks ago (i.e. around the end of August 2013). He was not sure if they were adults or not as he haven’t binoculars at the moment of the observation. So at least 2 individuals stayed in this area for nearly 3 months (7 June – end of August). It’s worth checking their breeding status in this area, if not possible this year it should be considered next year.

The Pied Crow is a very rare bird north of the Sahara desert, and there are only a few records in North Africa:

  • A bird collected at Jalo oasis, Al Wahat, north-east Libya, on 24 April 1931 (in Batty 2010).
  • One record in the extreme south of Algeria in 1961, and another at In Azaoua in December 1964. Plus it has been reported from the Algeria part of the Adrar Ifoghas close to Mali (Isenmann & Moali 2000).
  • Three birds discovered at Chtoukan between Boujdour and Dakhla, Western Sahara, Morocco, in December 2009. The pair had successfully bred and raised a young in spring/summer 2010 (Batty 2010).

Records from elsewhere in the Western Palearctic region are believed to relate either to escapes from captivity, or are suspected to have arrived by ship (see Batty 2010).

Since these records, the species has been observed several times in different parts of Morocco (at the Strait of Gibraltar in the north; at Mhamid, eastern Sahara; at Tarfaya and Khnifiss Lagoon on the Atlantic coast).


Batty, C. 2010. Pied Crows in Western Sahara, Morocco. Dutch Birding 32: 329.

Isenmann, P. & Moali, A. 2000. Oiseaux d’Algérie / Birds of Algeria. SEOF, Paris.

Pied Crow (Corvus albus), Tajura, western Libya.

Pied Crow (Corvus albus) at Tajura, near Tripoli, western Libya. (Photo: Libyan Society for Birds).

Première preuve de reproduction du Goéland railleur (Chroicocephalus genei) en Algérie

Cherief-Boutera, N., Bensaci, E., Cherief, A., & Moali, A. 2013. Première preuve de reproduction du Goéland railleur Chroicocephalus genei en Algérie. Alauda 81: 85-90.


First confirmed breeding of the Slender-billed Gull Chroicocephalus genei in Algeria.

A colony of Slender-billed Gull was surveyed during the spring of 2010 at El-Kerfa (High central plateaux of northern Algeria). 422 nests were counted on an islet and the clutch size was of 2.8 eggs per nest. A sample of eggs were measured and weighed. The high rate of successful hatching (98.81 %) was attributed to the high quality of habitat (undisturbed area, good food availability). The monitoring of this breeding site will be carried out in the future.

Goéland railleur (Chroicocephalus genei), Salines de Thyna, Sfax, Tunisie

Goéland railleur (Chroicocephalus genei), Salines de Thyna, Sfax, Tunisie (Habib Dlensi).

Etude du régime alimentaire du Bubo ascalaphus et Athene noctua dans la région de Djanet (Tassili n’Ajjer, Algérie)

Beddiaf, R. 2013. Etude du régime alimentaire de deux rapaces: le Hibou ascalaphe Bubo ascalaphus (Savigny, 1809) et la Chouette chevêche Athene noctua (Scopoli, 1769) dans la région de Djanet (Tassili n’Ajjer, Algérie). Mémoire de Magister, Université Kasdi Merbah, Ouargla.

PDF (4.65 Mb) in Université Kasdi Merbah, Ouargla.

Résumé :

Le présent travail porte sur l’étude du régime alimentaire du Hibou ascalaphe Bubo ascalaphus (Savigny, 1809) et de la Chouette chevêche Athene noctua (Scopoli, 1769) dans la région du Djanet, située à 2200 km au sud de la capitale Alger (24° 33’, 9° 29’). L’installation des pots Barber a permis de recenser 2 classes, 16 ordres, 59 familles et 109 espèces d’arthropodes, dont la plupart sont des insectes. Par contre, le piégeage direct des rongeurs révèle la présence de 4 espèces à savoir, Gerbillus tarabuliGerbillus gerbillusGerbillus nanus et Mus musculus. L’analyse des pelotes de l’Ascalaphe du désert a fait ressortir la présence de six catégories-proies à savoir, Arachnida, Insecta, Reptilia, Aves, Insectivora et Rodentia qui représente plus de la moitié du régime (AR = 53.1%.). Les proies les plus consommées sont Brachytrupes megacephalus (AR = 19.2%) et Gerbillus tarabuli (AR = 13.3%). Cependant, l’étude du menu trophique de la Chevêche d’Athéna révèle la présence de 5 catégories-proies notamment, Arachnida, Insecta, Reptilia, Aves, et Rodentia avec une dominance des Insecta (AR = 65,9%). Thesiocetrus sp (AR = 18,4 %). et Mesostena sp. (AR = 14,8%) sont les plus ingérées. Bubo ascalaphus (E = 0,74) et Athene noctua (E = 0,82) sont des prédateurs opportunistes dans leurs prises de nourriture.

Teghargharte (Tassili n'Ajjer)

Teghargharte, 30 km au sud de Djanet (Tassili n’Ajjer, Algérie)

Phenology and Diurnal Behavior of the Tufted Duck in Garaet Hadj Tahar (Numidia, NE Algeria)

Atoussi, S., Bara, M. & Houhamdi, M. 2013. Phenology and diurnal behavior of the Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula in Garaet Hadj Tahar (Occidental Numidia, Northeast Algeria). Journal Academica 3 (2): 117-126. PDF


In order to evaluate the number of Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula and its diurnal behavior in Garaet Hadj Tahar (Guerbes-Sanhadja wetlands, Northeast Algeria), this study was carried out during the wintering period (from November to April) in the years 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. The peak of the number observed during whole study period was recorded in December 2008 with a value of 100 individuals. The sleeping is the dominant diurnal behavior of the Tufted Duck (32%) followed by the swimming (31%) and feeding (2 5%). These comfort activities are done during the cold period in order to preserve the energetic stock.

Garaet Hadj Tahar

View of the Garaet Hadj Tahar (Sadek Atoussi, 2010)

Thanks to El-Yamine Guergueb (Association Nationale Algérienne d’Ornithologie) for mentioning this article.

Biodiversity and phenology of the Rallidae and the Anatidae in Garaet Hadj Tahar (NE Algeria)

Bara, M., Merzoug S., Bouslama Z. & Houhamdi M. (2013). Biodiversity and phenology of the Rallidae and the Anatidae in Garaet Hadj Tahar (Norteast of Algeria). Annals of Biological Research 4 (6): 249-253. PDF


During this study which was carried out between November 2011 and October 2012 in Garaet Hadj Tahar (Northeast of Algeria), we counted the Anatidae and the Rallidae individuals, then we calculated the ecological indexes (Abundance, specific richness, diversity index and equitability index), in order to evaluate the biodiversity in this ecosystem. 14 species were noted which belong to six genera: Fulica, Gallinula, Porphyrio, Anas, Aythya and Oxyura, among them two species cited as threatened species (Ferruginous duck Aythya nyroca and White-headed duck Oxyura leucocephala). The high value of Shannon-Weaver and equitability indexes were recorded during the wintering period with a value of 2.219 and 0.6 respectively.

Garaet Hadj-Tahar (Skikda, Algeria)

Garaet Hadj-Tahar (Skikda, Algeria). From Metallaoui & Houhamdi (2010).

The geographical situation of Garaet Hadj-Tahar (Skikda, Algeria) taken from figure 1 in: Metallaoui, S., & Houhamdi, M. (2010). Biodiversité et écologie de l’avifaune aquatique hivernante dans Garaet Hadj-Tahar (Skikda, Nord-Est de l’Algérie). Hydroécologie Appliquée 17: 1-16.

Diet of Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus caeruleus) in a farmland area near Algiers, Algeria

Manaa, A., Souttou, K., Sekour, M., Bendjoudi, D., Guezoul, O., Baziz-Neffah, F., Doumandji, S., Stoetzel, E. & Denys, C. 2013. Diet of Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus in a farmland area near Algiers, Algeria. Ostrich 84 (2) : 113–117.


The diet of the Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus was analysed in a recently colonised area in Meftah, south-eastern Algiers, Algeria. The diet was determined by analysing 144 pellets. Our data showed that the diet was dominated by rodents with Algerian mouse Mus spretus comprising between 61% and 77% of the diet. Based on relative biomass, rodents were the main prey species, comprising 88.1% of the diet in 2006, 68.4% in 2007 and 52.0% in 2008. Birds were the second-most important prey, comprising as much as 43.4% of the diet in 2008. The Algerian mouse was the major prey species both in spring (60.0% in 2007) and in summer (80.0% in 2006).

Black-winged Kite (Elanus caeruleus)

Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus caeruleus)

Habitat selection and partitioning of the Black-bellied Sandgrouse, the Stone Curlew and the Cream-coloured Courser in arid areas of North Africa

Traba, J., Acebes, P., Malo, J. E., García, J. T., Carriles, E., Radi, M., & Znari, M. (2013). Habitat selection and partitioning of the Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Pterocles orientalis), the Stone Curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus) and the Cream-coloured Courser (Cursorius cursor) in arid areas of North Africa. Journal of Arid Environments 94: 10-17.


Niche theory predicts that coexisting species with similar trophic requirements should demonstrate resource partitioning, particularly where resources are scarce. Conversely, this is not expected between species that do not share primary resources. This study analyses the patterns of spatial coexistence and habitat selection, on two spatial scales, of three species of semidesert regions in Morocco: the Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Pterocles orientalis), the Stone Curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus) and the Cream-coloured Courser (Cursorius cursor). Co-occurrence analysis results point to between-species segregation on a macrohabitat scale. Hotelling’s T test of the species-presence data showed a pattern of macrohabitat selection that diverged from habitat availability for the three species with differences among them. Both the classification tree and the pattern of microhabitat selection obtained by model averaging showed scant overlap between the Sandgrouse and the Courser, suggesting habitat partitioning between them on a fine scale. Our results confirm spatial segregation of the three species, especially between species with different trophic strategies: the Sandgrouse versus the Stone Curlew and the Courser. The latter two species were best segregated on a microhabitat scale, supporting the conclusions that macro- and microhabitat selection are major factors in bird community configuration in arid ecosystems and contributing to reduce potential competition.


► The three steppe-bird species show a low level of overlap at the macrohabitat scale.

► Granivorous species shows habitat segregation from insectivorous ones at macro and microhabitat.

► Insectivorous species show habitat partitioning only at microhabitat scale.

► Segregation is mainly based on abiotic factors such as topography and surface structure.