Hamza F., Hammouda A., Chokri M.A., Béchet A. & Selmi S., 2014. Distribution et abondance du Flamant rose Phoenicopterus roseus hivernant dans la zone centrale du golfe de Gabès (Tunisie). Alauda 82 (2): 135-142.
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Distribution and abundance of Greater Flamingos wintering in the central part of the gulf of Gabès, Tunisia.
The Gulf of Gabès, in south-eastern Tunisia, is one of the most important Mediterranean wintering areas for the Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus. However, information on the ecological factors shaping the abundance and distribution of this species in this wintering area are lacking. During the winter of 2010-2011, we conducted repeated counts of flamingos in fifteen sites in the central part of the Gulf of Gabès. The collected data were used to investigate the abundance and distribution of flamingos in this particular wintering area. We found that the total number of flamingos inhabiting the studied area ranged from 262 to 1781, and the proportion of occupied sites varied between 27 and 80%. We also found that the abundance and distribution of flamingos showed a peak between mid-November and mid-January. After this period, the flamingos became gradually rare, as a result of adults’ migration to northern breeding areas. In addition, our results showed that flamingos more frequently and more abundantly occurred in large mudflats (bays and estuaries) than in sandy beaches with small intertidal zones. The formers are likely to present more attractive feeding habitats because of their higher prey availability and accessibility. However, human presence (fishermen and shellfishers) did not appear to affect flamingos’ abundance and distribution. Fishermen and shellfishers did not seem to constitute a threat or a major disturbing factor for flamingos.