Distribution and breeding ecology of the Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca) in Algeria

Djelailia, A., Baaziz, N., Samraoui, F., Alfarhan, A. H. & Samraoui, B. (2017). Distribution and breeding ecology of the Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca in Algeria. Ostrich 0(0) DOI: 10.2989/00306525.2017.1313331
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Abstract:

We conducted a survey of the distribution of Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca across Algeria and analysed the influence of nest-site characteristics on nesting success at a Ramsar site, Lake Tonga. The species was found to occupy different wetlands (freshwater lakes, brackish marshes and salt lakes) across three major climatic belts (subhumid coastal strip, semi-arid Hauts Plateaux and arid Sahara). Mean clutch size of successful nests was 13.3 ± 6.0 eggs (N = 26) with a hatching rate of 74% for successful clutches. Nesting success was recorded for 44% of nests with clutch desertion (72.7%) accounting for the majority of failed clutches. Egg size of the study population, which breeds at the southern limit of the species’ range, was significantly smaller than that of its northerly counterparts. Clutch size was negatively related to egg size and positively associated with depth of water below the nest, suggesting that older, more experienced or high-quality birds monopolised the safest sites. Successful clutches were significantly associated with tall vegetation, suggesting that when nesting is carried out mainly on offshore floating islets, protection against aerial predators and heat stress determine nesting outcome. Conspecific brood parasitism was significantly and positively associated with deferred egg-laying and smaller egg size, suggesting an age-dependent mechanism.

Distribution et reproduction du Fuligule nyroca Aythya nyroca en Algérie

Nous avons mené une enquête sur la distribution du Fuligule nyroca Aythya nyroca à travers l’Algérie en analysant l’influence des caractéristiques des sites de nidification sur le succès de la nidification au sein d’un site classé Ramsar: le Lac Tonga. L’espèce occupe différentes zones humides (lacs d’eau douce, marais d’eau saumâtre et lacs salés) à travers trois zones climatiques majeures (bande côtière subhumide, Hauts Plateaux semi-arides et Sahara). La grandeur de ponte moyenne est de 10,0 ± 2,96 œufs (N = 29 pontes) avec un taux d’éclosion de 74,7% pour les pontes réussies. Le taux de réussite a totalisé 44% des nids, avec une prédominance d’abandons des pontes causant l’échec de la reproduction (82%). La taille des œufs de la population étudiée est plus petite que celle des populations se reproduisant à des latitudes plus élevées. La grandeur de ponte est négativement associée à la taille des œufs et elle est positivement liée au niveau de l’eau: ceci suggère que les individus plus âgés, ayant plus d’expérience, ou ceux de meilleure qualité monopolisent les sites les plus sûrs. Les pontes réussies sont significativement associées à une végétation haute, suggérant que pour les nids construits sur des îlots flottants, une protection contre les prédateurs aériens et l’exposition au soleil, conditionne le succès de la nidification. Le parasitisme intra-spécifique a été positivement associé à une ponte tardive et à des dimensions réduites des œufs, suggérant un mécanisme dépendant de l’âge.

Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca). Photo: Francis C. Franklin / CC-BY-SA, Wikipedia

Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca). Photo: Francis C. Franklin / CC-BY-SA, Wikipedia

Le statut de l’Érismature à tête blanche (Oxyura leucocephala) dans les zones humides du nord-est algérien

Halassi, I., Elafri, A., Belhamra, M. & Houhamdi, M. (2016). Répartition et abondance de l’Érismature à tête blanche Oxyura leucocephala dans les zones humides du nord-est algérien. Alauda 84: 25–34.
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Abstract:

Status of the White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala in Northeast Algeria. The globally threatened White-headed Duck is one the most rare duck species in the Western Palearctic. Its distribution in Algeria is mainly restricted to the northeastern part of the country and the Hauts-Plateaux. In 2013 and 2014, 694 individuals were counted. The studied sites harboured distinct numbers in winter and in summer of the two years. The p-values (Kruskal Wallis test) were lower than 0.05. The Lake Tonga showed the highest numbers in winter and the Boussedra wetland in summer. The results indicated a stable occurrence in the studied areas without any difference between the two years. The PCA analysis showed a significant correlation between the distribution of this species and three following main factors: vegetation, surface area and water depth at the Boussedra wetland, Lake Tonga and Garaet Hadj-Taher. The lower occurrence in other parts of the studied areas, particularly on the Hauts-Plateaux, is mainly the consequence of drying out process and habitat degradation.

Érismature à tête blanche (Oxyura leucocephala), Marais de la Macta, Mostaganem, Algérie (‎Ali Mehadji‎)

Érismature à tête blanche (Oxyura leucocephala), Marais de la Macta, Mostaganem, Algérie (‎photo: Ali Mehadji‎)

Nesting ecology of Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca) in north-eastern Algeria

Fouzari, A., Samraoui, F., Alfarhan, A. H. & Samraoui, B. (2015). Nesting ecology of Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca in north-eastern Algeria. African Zoology 50: 299–305. doi: 10.1080/15627020.2015.1108165
PDF in ResearchGate.net

Abstract:

The status of waterbirds breeding in protected areas in North Africa needs constant monitoring because of a naturally fluctuating environment and permissive attitudes towards illegal activities likely to negatively affect population dynamics of threatened species. We present the results of a study conducted at a protected site, Lake Tonga, north-eastern Algeria, on a breeding population of Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca, a Near-Threatened duck subjected to considerable pressure from egg-pilfering and illegal hunting. Two distinct habitats within the lake were used by Ferruginous Duck: an Alder carr (Alnus glutinosa) and floating islets across the lake. The mean clutch size was 9.51±1.84 eggs (N = 51 clutches) with hatching rate of 80.7% for successful clutches. Breeding success was low (37%) with predation (33%) and clutch desertion (17%) accounting for the majority of failed nests. The probabilities of nest failure and nest desertion increased with a delayed onset of egg laying. Predation was not significantly associated with egg laying date and vegetation cover, but late breeders nesting in dense vegetation seemed to suffer less predation. Conspecific brood parasitism was positively associated with nest size, whereas interspecific brood parasitism was marginally associated with water depth. We discuss different hypotheses concerning nest desertion, and argue that illegal hunting and disturbance may best explain why birds desert their nests.

Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca)

Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca (photo: Tony Smith, in flickr CC BY)

 

Factors affecting nesting success in the Great-crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus at Lake Tonga, north-east Algeria

Cheriet, S., Samraoui, F., Alfarhan, A. H. & Samraoui, B. (2015). Factors affecting nesting success in the Great-crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus at Lake Tonga, north-east Algeria. Ostrich 86(3): 239-245.      doi: 10.2989/00306525.2015.1067932
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Abstract:

The breeding ecology of the Great-crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus was investigated over four consecutive years (2009-2012) at Lake Tonga, north-east Algeria. In all four years, the egg-laying period was relatively short, spanning two months (end of March to end of May), and bimodal. Nests were mainly located in Phragmites australis, over water of substantial depth (178 ± 43 cm, N=209), far from the shore and in habitat with low vegetation cover (12.37 ± 7.67%, N=209). The overall clutch size was 3.73 ± 0.92 eggs (N=127) and it decreased marginally over time. The overall nesting success was 70.4% (N=209), with nest failure caused mainly by predation (65%) and flooding (23%). Breeding outcome was significantly and positively related to nest size, with bigger nests conferring better survival to eggs and young probably through affording better protection during spells of adverse weather. However, the benefits of bigger nests may be confounded by the age or intrinsic quality of birds. The location of nests in P. australis, rather than other vegetation types, increased nesting success marginally but significantly. Two cases of interspecific mixed clutches involving the Great-crested Grebe were recorded.

Great-crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus) and chicks

Great-crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus) and chicks (Michael Brace, flickr)

Nest-site selection and reproductive success of the Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) in Northeast Algeria

Athamnia, M., Samraoui, F., Kelailia, B., Rouabah, A., Alfarhan, A. H. & Samraoui, B. (2015). Nest-site selection and reproductive success of the Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis in Northeast Algeria. Ardeola 62: 113–124.
doi: 10.13157/arla.62.1.2015.113
PDF in ResearchGate.net

Summary:

We studied the phenology, habitat selection, and interannual and seasonal changes in breeding performance of the little grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis in relation to the spatial structure of a shallow lake during three breeding seasons (2010–2012). Nests were mostly located in shallow waters, close to the shore (98.3 ± 37.9 cm), in vegetation dominated by Scirpus lacustris. The egg-laying period started at the end of March and extended for four months until the end of July. Overall, the mean clutch size was 4.7 ± 1.1 (N = 154) with a modal clutch of 5. There was a seasonal decline in both egg volume and clutch size. The overall nesting success was 60% and the chief causes of nest failure were predation (52%) and adverse weather (20%). Breeding outcome was influenced by water depth, nest size and year of breeding. Predation and nest flooding markedly varied between years. Larger nests had a higher nesting success than smaller ones. Likewise, nests located at greater water depth (further from the shore) succeeded better than ones located in shallower water. As the little grebe forages preferentially in shallow waters, these results suggest that optimal nesting locations may be the result of a trade-off between conflicting selection pressures such as foraging efficiency (better in shallow waters) and nest predation risk (greater in shallow waters).

Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) nest with eggs

Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) nest with eggs (Sébastien Bertru, wikipedia)

An overview of the Rallidae of Algeria with particular reference to the breeding ecology of the Purple Swamp-Hen (Porphyrio porphyrio)

Samraoui, F., Nedjah, R., Alfarhan, A. H. & Samraoui, B. 2015. An overview of the Rallidae of Algeria with particular reference to the breeding ecology of the Purple Swamp-Hen Porphyrio porphyrio. Wetlands Ecology and Management 23: 505-517.  doi: 10.1007/s11273-014-9404-0
PDF in ResearchGate.net

Abstract:

Rallids are good biological models to monitor anthropogenic changes to wetlands. The distribution of the Rallidae was mapped up during a survey of all major wetlands across Algeria and nest site selection, phenology, and breeding parameters of the Purple Swamp-Hen Porphyrio porphyrio were monitored at two distinct sites under contrasting conditions. Data were collected at Boussedra, an unprotected freshwater marsh during the years 2005 and 2008, and at Lake Tonga, a protected freshwater marsh during 2009. The onset of egg-laying was found to occur earlier (mid-February) than was recorded previously (end-March). There was much variation in the egg laying patterns and in the clutch sizes which dropped significantly from 5.8 ± 0.9 (Boussedra 2009) to 3.4 ± 0.9 (Boussedra 2008) and 3.9 ± 1.0 (Tonga 2009). This study, the first investigation of the ecology and conservation of the Purple Swamp-Hen in North Africa, suggests a decline in breeding success associated with steady habitat loss and ineffective enforcement of legislation.

Nest-site selection, breeding success and brood parasitism in the common moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) in Algeria

Meniaia, Z., Samraoui, F., Alfarhan, A. H., & Samraoui, B. (2014). Nest-site selection, breeding success and brood parasitism in the common moorhen Gallinula chloropus in Algeria. Zoology and Ecology 24: 305–313. doi:10.1080/21658005.2014.959281
PDF in ResearchGate.net

Abstract :

Between 2010 and 2012, we studied the breeding ecology of the common moorhen Gallinula chloropus at Lake Tonga, north-east Algeria. Nests were low lying (mean ± SD = 13.64 ± 5.07 cm) and located in tall, dense stands of Scirpus lacustris (72%). The egg-laying period was relatively short, between mid-April and the end of June, peaking in the first half of May. The mean overall clutch size ± SD was 7.03 ± 2.52 (N = 58 clutches) with a slight seasonal downward trend. Rates of successful clutches increased with egg-laying date and water depth mainly due to the seasonal decrease in nest predation and nest flooding. Nest predation, in contrast to nest flooding, was also negatively associated with water depth. The study documented relatively frequent cases of conspecific brood parasitism as well as rarely reported events of interspecific brood parasitism involving the common moorhen both as a host and as a parasite of other avian species.

Related:

Samraoui, F., Alfarhan, A. H., & Samraoui, B. (2013). Status and breeding ecology of the Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus in Algeria. Ostrich 84 (2): 137-144.

Nest of Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) with an egg and a chick

Nest of Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) with an egg and a chick (Z. Meniaia et al. 2014).

Diurnal behaviour of breeding White-headed Duck (Oxyura leucocephala) at Lake Tonga, Algeria

Lazli, A., Nouari, I., Chater, N. & Moali, A. (2014). Diurnal behaviour of breeding White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala at Lake Tonga, North-East Algeria. Revue D’écologie 69 (2): 131–141.

Résumé :

Le comportement diurne de l’Érismature à tête blanche Oxyura leucocephala a été étudié au lac Tonga, lac d’eau douce peu profond situé dans le Nord-Est algérien, au cours de deux saisons de reproduction. Les rythmes d’activités diurnes de 173 oiseaux ont été compilés, de la période de pré-nidification jusqu’à la mue postnuptiale. Des budgets d’activités séparés ont été construits pour chacun des mâles et des femelles d’Érismature. Durant la saison de reproduction, le sommeil s’est avéré être la principale activité diurne pour les mâles (40 %), ce qui reflète l’avantage de la thermorégulation au cours du repos pendant la journée. Les femelles se nourrissent plus que les mâles (respectivement 26 % et 19 %) au cours de la période de pré-nidification, indiquant ainsi leur besoin d’acquérir des nutriments et de l’énergie pour la production d’œufs et l’incubation. Les parades nuptiales et le comportement agonistique, plus importants pendant la pré-nidification (période de ponte et d’incubation), indiquent que certains mâles tenteraient de copuler avec d’autres femelles, alors que d’autres essayeraient de protéger leurs propres femelles contre cela. L’augmentation du temps imparti à la toilette à partir de juin et juillet pour les deux sexes indique le début du phénomène de mue. L’activité alerte est plus importante pendant la période postnuptiale. En effet, mâles et femelles d’Érismature allouent un même temps à la protection des poussins et des juvéniles contre différents ennemis. Ce travail présente des données récentes et inédites sur l’éco-éthologie d’une espèce menacée pendant la saison de reproduction et dont les études sur le sujet restent peu développées dans la nature, en particulier pour chaque sexe.

White-headed Duck (Oxyura leucocephala)

White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala (Wikimedia commons, user: BS Thurner Hof)

Status and breeding ecology of the Common Moorhen in Algeria

Samraoui, F., Alfarhan, A. H., & Samraoui, B. (2013). Status and breeding ecology of the Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus in Algeria. Ostrich 84: 137-144.
doi:10.2989/00306525.2013.823130
PDF  in ResearchGate.net

Abstract:

The status of the Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus in Algeria and its breeding ecology in North Africa are reported for the first time. Nest site selection and breeding parameters were studied at two contrasting sites in north-east Algeria: Boussedra, an unprotected freshwater marsh of 55 ha subject to anthropogenic influence, during 2005 and 2008, and Lake Tonga, a protected freshwater marsh of 2 400 ha in 2009. Most nests (92%) at Boussedra were located in dense stands of lesser bulrush Typha angustifolia, whereas a few were found on lower branches of tamarisk Tamarix gallica trees. In contrast, at Lake Tonga nests were predominantly found on Scirpus lacustris (41%) or associated with alder trees Alnus glutinosa (32%). Egg-laying at both sites occurred between early April and the end of June. There was a significant decrease in egg volume as the breeding season progressed. Mean clutch size at Lake Tonga (7.8 ± 2.9, N = 23 clutches) did not differ significantly from that at Boussedra (6.7 ± 2.1, N = 14 clutches). Similarly, hatching success (67 –72%) and predation rate of nests with eggs (16–28%) did not vary significantly between sites. The Common Moorhen may be more resilient than marsh specialists to anthropogenic changes.

Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) in its nest

Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) at its nest. (Peter aka anemoneprojectors on Flickr, license: CC-by-sa)

Diurnal activity and breeding ecology of the White-headed Duck at Lake Tonga, Algeria

Chettibi, F., Khelifa, R., Aberkane, M., Bouslama, Z., & Houhamdi, M. (2013). Diurnal activity budget and breeding ecology of the White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala at Lake Tonga (North-east Algeria)Zoology and Ecology 23 (3): 183-190.  DOI: 10.1080/21658005.2013.817516
PDF in ResearchGate.net

Abstract:

The White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala is one of the most threatened duck species in the world. In the last decade ecology, behaviour and breeding biology of this species attracted considerable scientific interest across its geographic range. In order to fill some gaps in the knowledge of North African populations, diurnal and seasonal activity budget and breeding ecology of the species were investigated at Lake Tonga (Ramsar site), El Kala, Algeria. The species is resident at this site and its numbers were the highest in January. Throughout the year, ducks spent the following proportion of time on these activities daily: 62.41% resting, 18.50% locomotion, 11.04% feeding, 5.56% preening, 0.53% flying, 0.13% agonistic behaviour and 1.83% courting. Substantial differences were noted in the activity budget between wintering and breeding seasons. Resting and locomotion constituted 89% of all the activities in the wintering season, while resting, locomotion and feeding were dominant activities in the breeding season accounting for 86%. Throughout the year, resting peaked in the afternoon, while feeding reached its maximum at noon. As to the breeding ecology, ducks started laying eggs in early May and hatching in the middle of June. The mean clutch size was 9.41 ± 5.67 eggs, ranging between 1 and 11 eggs with a super clutch of 22 eggs giving the evidence of conspecific brood parasitism. Hatching success was low (55%) because of nest desertion, egg predation and egg infertility. The clutch size and hatching were positively correlated to the nest depth, the mean of which was 7.92 ± 4.94 cm.

Nest of the White-headed Duck (Oxyura leucocephala) containing nine eggs

Nest of the White-headed Duck (Oxyura leucocephala) containing nine eggs, Lake Tonga, Algeria.