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)

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