Rapid increase in numbers and change of land-use in two expanding Columbidae species (Columba palumbus and Streptopelia decaocto) in Algeria

Bendjoudi, D., Voisin, J.-F., Doumandji, S., Merabet, A., Benyounes, N. & Chenchouni, H. (2015). Rapid increase in numbers and change of land-use in two expanding Columbidae species (Columba palumbus and Streptopelia decaocto) in Algeria. Avian Research 6(1): 18.
doi: 10.1186/s40657-015-0027-9 (Open Access)


Investigating population ecology of urban bird species, particularly the invasive and expending species, is the key for the success of urban management and planning strategies.


Populations of two Columbidae species, the Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus) and the Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto), were monitored from 1992 to 2010 in the Algiers Sahel, the Mitidja Plain and surrounding areas (Northern Algeria). Monitoring of species densities was performed by the mapping-plot method. The foraging flight routes of Woodpigeon and the distribution of Eurasian Collared Dove were assessed by systematic observations.


The number of counted birds was statistically constant at first years of the survey, and then increased significantly, beginning from low numbers, their densities accelerated sharply between 2001 and 2006, then reached to an equilibrium state. The significant increase in Woodpigeon’s population could be explained by the reduced hunting pressure and by species adaptation to new food resources provided by nearby agriculture. Indeed, monitoring of flight directions of the species revealed the use of agricultural landscapes and habitats, which is a good indicator explaining adaptation and trophic niche of the species. The occurrence of the Eurasian Collared Dove in Algiers began in 2000. Its density experienced a rapid increase with similar trend pattern as that of Woodpigeon. Its distributional range is confined mainly in suburban environments of the Mitidja Plain.


The modifications of habitats, urbanization increase and the lessening of hunting in the Mitidja Plain facilitated the rapid expansion of the Eurasian Collared Dove and Woodpigeon as well contributed to the increase in their numbers over time.

Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto), Bouira, Algeria

Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto), Lakhdaria, Bouira, Algeria (Abdelaziz Mazouz, flickr)

Factors affecting growth parameters of White Stork nestlings in eastern Algeria

Benharzallah, N., Si Bachir, A., Taleb, F. & Barbraud, C. (2015). Factors affecting growth parameters of White Stork nestlings in eastern Algeria. Journal of Ornithology 156: 601–612.  doi: 10.1007/s10336-015-1162-0


Survival and reproduction of young can be affected by growth parameters. It is thus important to estimate intraspecific growth rate variability and environmental factors affecting growth to better understand the dynamics of populations and the potential impacts of environmental changes. Growth parameters of White Stork (Ciconia ciconia) nestlings were estimated in eastern Algeria, in the southern part of the species’ range. A total of 2,756 measurements of 65 nestlings from 18 nests were taken for body mass, and tarsus, wing and bill lengths. Individual growth data were used to investigate the effects of nest occupation date, laying and hatching dates, clutch size, number of hatchlings, productivity, hatching order, and brood reduction on nestling growth patterns. Body mass and bill length growth rates were lower in the studied population than in a more northerly White Stork population. This supports the hypothesis of a geographic variation in intraspecific growth parameters. Chicks from nests occupied early reached higher asymptotic body mass but tended to grow more slowly. However, chicks from late arriving birds compensated for the difference in body mass and wing length by higher growth rates. Wing length was significantly affected by asynchrony and hatching order. Last hatched chicks had larger asymptotic wing lengths, lower wing growth rates and longer growth periods. Wings of nestlings from highly asynchronous broods grew faster but took more time to attain the inflection point. Brood reduction had a negative effect on nestling bill length at hatching. Chicks from nests with little brood reduction had a longer bill at hatching than nestlings from nests with high brood reduction.

La reproduction de l’Hirondelle rustique (Hirundo rustica) dans un milieu urbain nord-africain

Haddad, S., Hanane, S. & Houhamdi, M. 2015. La reproduction de l’Hirondelle rustique (Hirundo rustica) dans un milieu urbain nord-africain: quel impact des conditions climatiques et de l’application des insecticides ? Revue d’Ecologie (Terre et Vie) 70(3): 280-290.
PDF in ResearchGate.net


Breeding performance of the Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) in a North African urban area: what are the impacts of climatic conditions and insecticide applications? The present study examined the effects of climate conditions (temperature, precipitation and wind speed) and human activity (insecticide treatment) on clutch size, number of hatchlings and total productivity of the Barn Swallow in a North African urban area (Guelma, Algeria). Our results demonstrated that climatic conditions did not clearly affect reproductive parameters of this Hirundinidae, unlike insecticide treatments inside nesting-buildings. A seasonal decline of the three studied parameters was recorded. The number of hatchlings and total productivity were greater for first than for second clutches. Likewise, productivity significantly decreased in 2013 compared to 2012. Further research on other environmental factors such as: (i) insect availability; (ii) agricultural activity and (iii) adverse weather events, are an essential track for the implementation of management measures to improve local breeding conditions of this North African urban population.


La présente étude analyse les effets des conditions climatiques (température, précipitations et vitesse des vents) et de l’activité anthropique (traitements aux insecticides) sur la taille de ponte, le nombre d’œufs éclos et la productivité totale de l’Hirondelle rustique dans un milieu urbain Nord-Africain (Guelma, Algérie). Les résultats ont démontré que les conditions climatiques n’affectent pas clairement les paramètres de reproduction de cet Hirundinidé, contrairement aux traitements insecticides des bâtiments de nidification. Les trois paramètres étudiés ont tous subi une importante diminution au fur et à mesure de la progression de la saison de reproduction. Le nombre d’œufs éclos et la productivité totale ont été plus grands pour la première ponte que pour la seconde. Cette productivité a nettement diminuée en 2013 par comparaison à 2012. La poursuite des recherches sur d’autres facteurs environnementaux comme : (i) la disponibilité des insectes ; (ii) l’activité agricole et (iii) les événements météorologiques défavorables, s’avère une piste incontournable pour la mise en œuvre de mesures de gestion visant l’amélioration des conditions locales de reproduction de cette population urbaine Nord-Africaine.

Juvéniles d'Hirondelle rustique (Hirundo rustica)

Juvéniles d’Hirondelle rustique Hirundo rustica (John Haslam, flickr)

Factors influencing species-richness of breeding waterbirds in Moroccan IBA and Ramsar wetlands

Cherkaoui, S. I., Hanane, S., Magri, N., El Agbani, M.-A. & Dakki, M. (2015). Factors influencing species-richness of breeding waterbirds in Moroccan IBA and Ramsar wetlands: a macroecological approach. Wetlands 35(5): 913–922.
doi: 10.1007/s13157-015-0682-y


Since 2005, Morocco has designated 28 Important Bird Areas (IBA) and Ramsar wetlands for waterbirds, yet little is known about how waterbird communities are changing over time and space, within and between sites. We assessed the relationships between species numbers of overall breeding waterbirds, as well as those of Anatidae, Rallidae and Podicipedidae, and geographical, topographical and macrohabitat factors. Species richness of overall waterbirds and Anatidae were positively correlated with: (i) extent of emergent vegetation, (ii) number of plant species present, and (iii) altitude. Species richness of Rallidae was positively correlated with: (i) latitude, and (ii) different beds of emergent vegetation, while that of Podicipedidae was exclusively correlated with altitude. These results suggest that breeding waterfowl are significantly related to habitat characteristics, most importantly vegetation structure, and altitude. Our findings give support to the idea that large mountain wetlands protected areas provide valuable habitat to breeding waterbirds in this region, by providing larger buffer zones with fewer human activities, such as hunting, urbanization and tourism disturbance. This study provides a platform from which we can advance the scientific research on Moroccan IBA and Ramsar wetlands.

Breeding, habitat use and diet of Common Kestrel, Falco tinnunculus, in urban area in Algeria

Kaf, A., Saheb, M., & Bensaci, E. (2015). Preliminary data on breeding, habitat use and diet of Common Kestrel, Falco tinnunculus, in urban area in Algeria. Zoology and Ecology 25(3): 203–210.  doi: 10.1080/21658005.2015.1057989


The nesting of the Common Kestrel, Falco tinnunculus, was monitored in an urban environment (University of Oum El Bouaghi, 35°52′46″ N, 7°05′28″ E) over three successive years from 2011 to 2013. The mean clutch size was 5.75 eggs/nest. The incubation period was spread over at least 27 days. The hatching success was 0, 50 and 60.83% for the years 2011, 2012 and 2013, respectively. The size of the hunting area was between 5.92 and 255.07 ha. The diet analyses of Common Kestrel adults showed that their foods included grasshoppers (31.49%), snakes (12.7%), lizards (21.35%) and rock dove chicks (34.45%).

Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), Algeria

Common Kestrel – Faucon crécerelle (Falco tinnunculus), Algeria (photo copyright: Abdelaziz Mazouz, flickr)

Nest-niche differentiation in two sympatric Streptopelia species from a North African agricultural area

Hanane, S. (2015). Nest-niche differentiation in two sympatric Streptopelia species from a North African agricultural area: the role of human presence. Ecological Research 30: 573–580. doi: 10.1007/s11284-015-1259-1


Studies of niche partitioning among Columbidae species have mainly addressed food habits and foraging activities, while partitioning in relation to nest-niche differentiation has been little studied. The recent expansion of Laughing dove Streptopelia senegalensis distribution throughout Morocco has raised concerns regarding its effects on native species, particularly Turtle doves S. turtur. The study, conducted in May 2008 and 2009, attempted to determine the factors that may play a role in nest-niche differentiation among the two sympatric dove species in the Tadla’s agricultural area (central Morocco). I used Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and Linear Discriminant Analysis (LDA) to test the relevance of nest placement and human presence variables in the nest distribution of the two species. The results show substantial niche segregation in the olive nest-trees selected by Turtle and Laughing doves, with selection depending primarily on human presence and, to a lesser extent, the vertical distribution of nests. Observed nest-niche partitioning may diminish the potential for competition between these species and enhance opportunities for their coexistence. I further suggest guidelines for future studies that seek to understand the spatio-temporal dynamics of Laughing and Turtle dove coexistence in the region.

Les facteurs déterminants le succès de reproduction de la Tourterelle des bois (Streptopelia turtur) dans un milieu agricole Nord-Africain

Kafi, F., Hanane, S., Bensouilah, T., Zeraoula, A., Brahmia, H. & Houhamdi, M. 2015. Les facteurs déterminants le succès de reproduction de la Tourterelle des bois (Streptopelia turtur) dans un milieu agricole Nord-Africain. Revue d’Ecologie (Terre et Vie) 70 (3): 271-279.
PDF in ResearchGate.net


Determinants of nesting success in Turtle doves (Streptopelia turtur) in a North-African agricultural area. Determining the effects of environmental factors on nesting success of migrant and breeding game birds is paramount especially in man-made environments. Using Poisson regression, we investigated the influence on the number of chicks fledged per nest (N = 207) of nest placement, proximity of cereal crops and water sources, taking into account possible phenological and spatial differences between the five studied orchards. The best model, selected by Akaike criterion, shows positive linear effects of distance from the nest to the trunk, to closest cereal crops and a quadratic effect of nest height (with an optimum at 1.6m). In Guelma’s orange groves, nest placement and proximity to cereal crops have a direct impact on the productivity of Turtle doves. Further researches on other tree species (fruit and forest ones) are necessary to: (i) assess their importance for breeding Turtle doves and (ii) determine the effect of environmental variables on the maintenance of the species.


Connaître les effets des facteurs écologiques sur le succès de la reproduction de l’avifaune migratrice nicheuse est primordial particulièrement dans les milieux artificialisés. Nous avons étudié, au moyen de régressions de Poisson, l’influence de l’emplacement des nids sur les arbres, de la proximité aux cultures céréalière et aux points d’eau sur le nombre de jeunes à l’envol par nid (N=207), en tenant compte de possibles différences phénologiques et spatiales entre les cinq vergers étudiés. Le meilleur modèle, sélectionné sur la base du critère d’Akaike, montre des effets linéaires positifs de la distance du nid au tronc et aux plus proches cultures céréalières, et un effet quadratique de la hauteur du nid (avec un optimum à 1,6m). Dans les orangeraies de Guelma, le positionnement des nids et leur proximité aux cultures céréalières ont une incidence directe sur la productivité totale des Tourterelles des bois. La poursuite des recherches sur d’autres supports de nidification (arbres fruitiers et forestiers) s’avère nécessaire pour : (i) évaluer leur importance pour la reproduction de l’espèce et (ii) connaître l’effet des variables environnementales sur le maintien de l’espèce.

Tourterelle des bois (Streptopelia turtur), Algérie

Tourterelle des bois (Streptopelia turtur), Algérie (photo: Taamallah Chamsi)

Nesting habitat requirements of two species of North African woodpeckers in native oak forest

Touihri, M., Villard, M.-A., & Charfi-Cheikhrouha, F. 2015. Nesting habitat requirements of two species of North African woodpeckers in native oak forest. Bird Study 62(3): 386–393.  doi: 10.1080/00063657.2015.1049511
PDF in ResearchGate.net

Short abstract:

Capsule: Nests of Levaillant’s Woodpecker Picus vaillantii and Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major were associated with higher densities of snags and downed wood than foraging locations.

Conclusion: Both Levaillant’s and Great Spotted Woodpecker showed high requirements for large-diameter trees and snags, which provide substrates for both nesting and foraging. Nesting habitat requirements may not always be higher than those associated with foraging, but the fact that they were for the Great Spotted Woodpecker calls for caution when planning for woodpecker conservation.

Levaillant's Woodpecker (Picus vaillantii), Oukaimeden, Morocco

Levaillant’s Woodpecker (Picus vaillantii), Oukaimeden, Morocco (Francesco Veronesi, Wikipedia)

Breeding biology of sympatric Laughing (Streptopelia senegalensis) and Turtle (Streptopelia turtur) Doves in NE Algeria

Brahmia, H., Zeraoula, A., Bensouilah, T., Bouslama, Z., & Houhamdi, M. 2015. Breeding biology of sympatric Laughing Streptopelia senegalensis and Turtle Streptopelia turtur Dove: a comparative study in northeast Algeria. Zoology and Ecology  25(3): 220–226.   doi: 10.1080/21658005.2015.1049470
PDF in ResearchGate.net


The Turtle Dove and Laughing Dove display distinct behavior and are morphologically and genetically different. However, microhabitat selection and reproductive success details of the two species are still poorly studied. The geographic distribution of the Laughing Dove in North Africa has clearly expanded nowadays. The breeding ecology and nest placement of this species have been studied previously, but little is currently known about its life history in Algeria. This study aimed to provide the basic information on the breeding biology of the Laughing Dove in Algeria. During two consecutive breeding seasons (2013–2014), the clutch size, brood size, chick survival, timing of breeding, densities of breeding pairs, nest placement, and the main causes of nest failure of the sympatric Laughing Dove and Turtle Dove were studied in an olive orchard in Guelma region, northeast Algeria. Clutch size, brood size, chick survival, the estimated productivity, and nest placement of the two species were similar but timing of breeding and population densities were significantly different. Finally, the largely coincident egg-laying period and the similar clutch size of the two species seem to be the main factors behind their similar survival rate and productivity in our study area.

Laughing Dove (Streptopelia senegalensis), Helwan, Egypt

Laughing Dove (Streptopelia senegalensis), Helwan, Egypt (Rachid H., flickr)

Variation in the diet of Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) at Lake Réghaïa, Algeria

Lardjane-Hamiti, A., Metna, F., Boukhemza, M., Merabet, S., & Houhamdi, M. (2015). Variation in the diet of Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus (Aves, Rallidae) at Lake Réghaïa, Algeria. Zoology and Ecology 25: 227–234.
doi: 10.1080/21658005.2015.1046270
PDF in Research Gate.net


The diet of the Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus was studied at Lake Réghaïa (Algeria). A total of 600 faecal samples were collected from February 2010 to January 2012. The results showed that green plant materials (especially Poaceae) were the dominant faecal components (86.7 ± 23.8%), followed by invertebrates (13.2 ± 23.8%) and grit (0.03 ± 0.05%). Seventeen plant species belonging to eight different families were identified in 2010/2012. The major item identified in faecal contents was Poaceae. Paspalum distichum was the most important diet category. Others grasses mostly eaten were Poa annua, Avena sp., Phragmites sp. and Panicum repens. Other plant species recorded in faeces were Carex hispida, Polygonum lapathifolium, Thypha angustifolia, Plantago major, Mentha pulegium, Plantago crassifolia, Panicum repens and Carex hispida. The Common Moorhen diet contained invertebrates, and ephippium of Daphnia sp. were the most dominant. Insects were recorded, but with a negligible proportion.