A review of the identification criteria and variability of the Slender-billed Curlew

Corso, A., Jansen, J. & Kókay, Sz., 2014.  A review of the identification criteria and variability of the  Slender-billed Curlew. British Birds 107: 339-370.
PDF in ResearchGate.net

Abstract and a taster (4 pages) of the paper at British Birds‘ website:

This paper presents a complete review of all proposed identification characters for the Slender-billed Curlew Numenius tenuirostris. The review is based primarily on examination of museum specimens, but also on photographs of live birds. All characters were examined from scratch, so the analysis provides a revalidation of some criteria while challenging others. The most useful features for the identification of Slender-billed Curlew were found to be: the colour and pattern of the underside of the outer primaries; pattern and extent of the tibial feathering and length of exposed tibia; leg colour; pattern of the tail feathers; and shape of the dark flank markings. All other proposed features were found to overlap to some extent with some Eurasian Curlews N. arquata.

Since the mid 1990s, when the species was seen on the last-known regular wintering grounds, in Morocco, curlews showing characters associated with Slender-billed Curlew have been reported from several countries, including England, Greece, Hungary, Italy and Spain. These reports have generated considerable and ongoing debate and this paper should provide a key baseline for any future reviews.

Identification of the Slender-billed Curlew (Szabolcs Kókay/ British Birds, 2014)

Identification of the Slender-billed Curlew (Szabolcs Kókay / British Birds, 2014)

Breeding Biology of Squacco Herons (Ardeola ralloides) in Northern Tunisia

Nefla, A., Tlili, W., Ouni, R. & Nouira, S. 2014. Breeding Biology of Squacco Herons (Ardeola ralloides) in Northern Tunisia. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 126 (2): 393–401.  doi:10.1676/13-130.1


We studied the reproduction patterns of Squacco Herons, Ardeola ralloides, during 2009–2010. This study was carried out in two colonies located at Ichkeul National Park (37.184992 N, 9.633758 E) and Lebna Dam (36.744161 N, 10.916569 E), in northern Tunisia. We determined the reproductive performance of the species, and investigated the relationship between reproductive parameters and nest characteristics (height and diameter). We registered successful nesting, with mean clutch size of 4.51 ± 0.85 for both years combined. Hatching success was 3.67 ± 1.07 eggs hatched/nest and fledging success reached 3.06 ± 1.28 young/nest. All reproductive parameters varied between years. The diameter and the height of nest had no effect on the clutch size, the initial brood size, or the final brood size at each site. We estimated the body condition index (BCI) and the growth curves of developing nestlings from repeated measurements of body mass, tarsus, head and bill length. The last chicks (rank four) to hatch had lower (BCI) and growth rates than the first, the second, and the third hatched chicks. These results stress the need for further protection measures be undertaken at Lebna Dam. Accessibility to the site should be highly controlled by the managers of Tunisian wetlands.

Related papers:

Ouni, R., Nefla, A., El Hili, A., & Nouira, S. (2011). Les populations d’Ardéidés nicheurs en TunisieAlauda, 79 (2): 157–166. (PDF)

Ghermaoui, M., Hassaine, K., Moulaï, R. (2013). Première observation d’une nidification mixte du Héron garde-bœufs Bubulcus ibis et de l’Aigrette garzette Egretta garzetta en milieu insulaire sur l’île de Rachgoun en Algérie. Alauda 81 (4): 311-312.  (PDF)

From the same wetland (Lebna Dam, Cap Bon):

Nefla, A., Ouni, R., & Nouira, S. (2012). The Breeding Status of the Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus in the Lebna Dam in Cap Bon, TunisiaJournal of Life Sciences 6: 776–782. (PDF)

Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides)

Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides. (Photo: Ferran Pestaña on flickr, licence CC-by-sa)

Trafic illégal des espèces sauvages protégées en Algérie via l’Internet

Des animaux sauvages protégés par la loi algérienne (et internationale) sont en vente sur Internet à travers des sites-web apparemment locaux (photos). Merci à la page Facebook “To Save Wildlife in Algeria” pour l’information et le texte suivant:

الإتجار غير الشرعي بالحيوانات  المحمية في الجزائر عبر الانترنت 

تواجه الحياة البرية في الجزائر مخاطر عديدة في ظل غياب الصرامة ونقص المجهودات المبذولة لحماية هذا الكنز الوطني ، حيث تتعرض الحيوانات البرية الى ضغوطات شديدة من طرف الانسان. وظهرت قضية جديدة تتمثل في التجارة الغير الشرعية للحيوانات والطيور البرية المحمية فأصبحنا نشاهد حيوانات نادرة ومحمية من طرف القانون الجزائري تباع على الأرصفة والمحلات من دون أي خوف من العقوبات التي تصل حسب ما جاء في المراسيم الرئاسية الى حد السجن ثلاث سنوات في حال قبض أو حيازة او المتاجرة بالحيوانات المحمية او أعضائها او جلودها،  ولكن غياب تطبيق هذه القوانين جعل هذه الظاهرة تتطور وتصبح مشكلة حقيقية وانتقلت الى المواقع الالكترونية على الانترنت ، فأصبحنا نجد السلاحف البرية والمائية، النسور، الصقور، ثعالب الصحراء ، السنجاب البربرية ، كلها للبيع. فأين هي الرقابة القانونية ، وأين هي محاسبة المخالفين للقانون ، وأين هم المسؤولون على حماية هذه الثروة الوطنية ؟

Vautour percnoptère (Neophron percnopterus - Egyptian Vulture) : espèce classée comme "en danger d'extinction" (EN) sur la Liste rouge de l'UICN et inscrite à l'Annexe II de la CITES.

Vautour percnoptère (Neophron percnopterus – Egyptian Vulture) : espèce classée comme “en danger d’extinction” (EN) sur la Liste rouge de l’UICN et inscrite à l’Annexe II de la CITES.

Faucon crécerelle (Falco tinnunculus - Common Kestrel)

Faucon crécerelle (Falco tinnunculus – Common Kestrel)

Chardonneret élégant (Carduelis carduelis - European Goldfinch) : espèce en danger en Algérie

Chardonneret élégant (Carduelis carduelis – European Goldfinch) : espèce en danger en Algérie

Fennec (Vulpes zerda)

Fennec (Vulpes zerda)

Genetic variability in the Eurasian Stone-curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus)

Mori, A., Baldaccini, N. E., Baratti, M., Caccamo, C., Dessì-Fulgheri, F., Grasso, R., Nouira, S., Ouni, R., Pollonara, E., Rodriguez-Godoy, F.,Spena, M.T., Giunchi, D. (2014). A first assessment of genetic variability in the Eurasian Stone-curlew Burhinus oedicnemus. Ibis 156(3): 687–692. doi:10.1111/ibi.12164


The Eurasian Stone-curlew is a species of conservation concern in Europe. We investigate for the first time the extent of population structure among populations sampled from six geographical areas, representing four subspecies inhabiting the western part of the species’ distribution. Neither mitochondrial nor nuclear markers fully supported current subspecies boundaries. However, both markers support significant differentiation of the Canary Island populations from those sampled from the Mediterranean. Further work is needed to establish the taxonomic status of this potentially distinct Macaronesian taxon. More broadly, further genetic research is required to design and implement an effective conservation plan for this species.