Post-release monitoring of Double-spurred Francolin (Francolinus bicalcaratus ayesha) in Morocco

Hanane, S. & Qninba, A. (2014). Post-release monitoring of a critically endangered galliform subspecies, Francolinus bicalcaratus ayesha, in Morocco: a field study using playback call counts. Zoology and Ecology 24: 332–338.  doi: 10.1080/21658005.2014.981431
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The Double-spurred Francolin Francolinus bicalcaratus ayesha is a critically endangered galliform subspecies in Morocco. To improve the viability of this threatened population, 300 captive-bred francolins were released into the Didactic Lot of the Royal Moroccan Federation of Hunting, and post-release monitoring was conducted. In this study, we used playback call counts to assess differences in habitat use and temporal variations in vocal activity of Double-spurred Francolins. The number of male calls per point count was significantly higher in the wooden matorral (WM) than in the non-wooden matorral (MT). The male responses per point count also increased depending on date, reaching a maximum in the first 10 days of March. The pattern was similar in the two habitats, although the maximum average call rates were significantly different [WM = 1.575 (95% CI: 1.394–1.780), MT = 0.481 (95% CI: 0.393–0.589)]. We suggest that call counts collected during this period could be used to index the annual change of the released population in that area. Further researches are, however, needed to (1) estimate the current population size of the released francolins and (2) characterize the habitats used within this protected area.

Double-spurred Francolin - Francolin à double éperon (Pternistis bicalcaratus ayesha)
Double-spurred Francolin – Francolin à double éperon (Pternistis bicalcaratus ayesha), Morocco. (photo: Groupe de Recherche pour la Protection des Oiseaux au Maroc, GREPOM)

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