Articles

Breeding ecology of the Purple Heron Ardea purpurea in Numidia, north-eastern Algeria

Published in: Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology
Volume 81, issue 3, 2010 , pages: 189–196
DOI: 10.2989/00306525.2010.519865
Author(s): Riad NedjahLaboratoire de Recherche et de Conservation des Zones humides, Département de Biologie, Algeria, Abdenour BouchekerLaboratoire de Recherche et de Conservation des Zones humides, Département de Biologie, Algeria, Farrah SamraouiLaboratoire de Recherche et de Conservation des Zones humides, Département de Biologie, Algeria, Rachid MenaiLaboratoire de Recherche et de Conservation des Zones humides, Département de Biologie, Algeria, Ahmed AlfarhanCenter of Excellence for Research in Biodiversity, Saudi Arabia, KhaledAS Al-RasheidCenter of Excellence for Research in Biodiversity, Saudi Arabia, Boudjéma SamraouiLaboratoire de Recherche et de Conservation des Zones humides, Département de Biologie, Algeria

Abstract

During 2002–2007, we assessed the status of the Purple Heron Ardea purpurea in Numidia, Algeria by surveying all the major wetlands in the region. We located six distinct breeding sites; four of these were not previously known. We also investigated nest site selection and determined the species’ reproductive success at Dakhla, a dunary pond during two successive years (2006 and 2007). The egg laying period was comparable to that reported for southern Europe (March-May) and a seasonal change of breeding success was recorded. A growth curve was derived for developing nestlings and the impact of an ectoparasite (mite) infestation upon nestling's growth was considered. We also examined 73 food boluses regurgitated by nestlings and identified 329 prey items. Fish, mainly Gambusia holbrookii and Cyprinus carpio, dominated by mass, whereas insects, mainly aquatic Coleopteran larvae and aeshnids (Odonata), were the most frequent prey (67.1%). Loss of habitat is identified as a major threat to the future of colonial herons in Algeria.

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