Eco-ethology of the wintering Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca) in Garaet Hadj Tahar, Northeast of Algeria

Merzoug, S. E., Amor Abda, W., Belhamra, M., & Houhamdi, M. (2014). Eco-ethology of the wintering ferruginous duck Aythya nyroca (Anatidae) in Garaet Hadj Tahar (Guerbes-Sanhadja, Northeast of Algeria). Zoology and Ecology 24 (4): 297-304.   doi:10.1080/21658005.2014.953800


The ecology (phenology and diurnal eco-ethology) of the ferruginous duck Aythya nyroca was studied during three seasons of its wintering (2010/2011, 2011/2012, and 2012/2013) in Garaet Hadj Tahar (a Ramsar site since 2001 with an area of 120 ha, complex of Guerbes-Sanhadja, Skikda, Northeast of Algeria). The maximum number of ferruginous ducks recorded there in December 2012 was 605 individuals. This figure includes the total number of these birds in two populations living at the site: the first one is a nesting sedentary population consisting of about 20 pairs, and the second one, more numerous, frequents the center of this wetland only in wintering seasons. The study of the rhythm of diurnal activities showed that sleeping is the dominant activity of ferruginous ducks accounting for 42.5% of their time budget. It is followed by activities of swimming (20.6%), feeding (19.3%), cleaning (9.3%), and finally, flying (7.7%). Parading constitutes a very small proportion of the time-activity budget of ducks and was not observed until the end of the wintering season. Also, the current study has revealed the role of this wetland in diurnal recovery of ferruginous ducks.

Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca)
Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca). (Photo: Alessandro Musicorio, flickr CC-by-sa).

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